Ethereum Dapps: 10 Decentralized Apps You Can Use Right Now
At the heart of this platform lies an ecosystem of decentralized applications, or DApps, which have changed the way we interact with digital systems. These apps range from gaming and gambling to asset exchanges and finance to media and social DApps and more.
Whether you're a curious explorer or a crypto degen, join us as we explore the 10 best Ethereum DApps.
What are Ethereum DApps?
While the blockchain is an immutable ledger, Ethereum has taken the blockchain further through the creation of smart contracts that allow developers to create open-source software built on the back of the blockchain to leverage its many advantages.
Because the blockchain is decentralized, the applications built on top of a blockchain are also decentralized, meaning they have no central authority or ownership. Once a DApp is deployed even the developers no longer have control over it.
Common features of an Ethereum DApp are:
- Open Source: DApps should ideally be open-source software with the code able to be examined and proven free of malicious code.
- Decentralized: Ethereum DApps are built on a decentralized blockchain, and any changes should be determined by the consensus of user votes.
- Incentivized: Users who act as validators of transactions on the blockchain should be provided incentives in the form of digital tokens for their activity.
- Protocol: The community of application developers and users must agree on the cryptographic algorithm used to show proof of value. In the case of Ethereum, this is currently Proof-of-Stake (PoS).
In the second quarter of 2023, Ethereum's total value locked (TVL) was higher than its competitors by a wide margin. Based on data collected by DappRadar, there are well over 4,000 Ethereum DApps.
Types of Ethereum DApps
While the categorization of DApps is broader, the Ethereum white paper has identified and defined three types of DApps:
DApps to Manage Money
This is the most common type of DApp and consists of an application that requires one user to pay Ether to settle a smart contract and receive some good, service or data.
DApps to Manage Money Involving Outside Information
This type of DApp requires payment in Ether, and also requires the input of some outside information. One good example of this is Augur and other prediction market DApps. In any prediction market, there will be an outside event and the outcome of that event is required to settle the contract.
DApps Managing Voting and Governance
When managing governance or voting most DApps make use of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs). By doing so they can create truly decentralized apps with no reliance on a centralized board of leadership hierarchy. Rules regarding voting and consensus as well as the distribution of funds are all set when the DAO is initialized, and the dApps can then continue to run forever.
Top 10 Ethereum DApps
The top-10 DApps on Ethereum are in the decentralized finance space.
However, for the sake of diversity, we're going to list DApps across different categories, but you're going to see some names from this list as well.
Uniswap is an open-source protocol for providing liquidity and trading ERC-20 tokens on Ethereum. It is an automated market maker. In practical terms, it is a collection of smart contracts that define a standard way to create liquidity pools, provide liquidity, and swap assets. Uniswap has thus far seen $1.5 trillion worth of trading volume and trades of over 156 million.
There is a 0.3% fee for swapping tokens. This fee is split by liquidity providers proportional to their contribution to liquidity reserves. Uniswap currently doesn't charge protocol fees. However, it is possible for a 0.05% fee to be turned on in the future.
Lido is a decentralized liquid staking protocol with a total value locked of $14.2 billion, virtually all of which it generates through Ethereum.
According to DefiLlama, liquid staking protocols have surpassed decentralized exchanges in total value locked, making it the leading category in DeFi by TVL dominance.
Lido boasts close to 300,000 stakers, and it has paid out over $680 million in total rewards. The staking protocol applies a 10% fee on staking rewards that are split between node operators, and the DAO Treasury.
It offers an APR of 3.6% on Ethereum, 4.2% on Polygon and 6.7% on Solana.
Decentraland is an open-source virtual social world powered by the Ethereum blockchain. In its metaverse, you can personalize your character, create virtual buildings, and monetize from doing so.
Lands are the most important in the Decentraland virtual world. The company has incubated a variety of entertainment events, including Fashion Week and Metaverse Music Festival. Brands including Samsung, Nike, Cola-Cola and Adidas have hosted experiences in the venue as well.
What would a virtual world be without experiencing it in virtual reality? Decentraland is also available for the Meta Quest. According to DappRadar, the company has seen volume of more than $590,000 over the past 30 days.
Use crypto to borrow crypto!
MakerDao is a decentralized company built on Ethereum. It has created a protocol allowing anyone with ETH to lend themselves money in the form of a stablecoin called DAI.
Here's how it works: By locking up some ETH in MakerDAO's smart contracts (known as collateralized debt positions) as collateral, you can create a DAI, its native digital token. The more ETH you lock up, the more DAI you can create. When users are ready to unlock their ETH, they simply pay back the loan along with any fees.
Speaking of fees, you can expect to pay a “stability fee” of between 0.5% and 1.75%. The company explains that this fee is a risk parameter designed to address imbalances in supply and demand for the Dai token which could result from periods of low or negative growth in the cryptocurrency markets.
The third-largest Ethereum DApp by TVL is Aave, an open-source, non-custodial protocol to earn interest on deposits and borrow assets.
Of its $4.55 billion TVL, Aave drives the bulk of it through Ethereum, and the rest through Polygon and Avalanche, among others. To date, about $10 billion of liquidity is locked in Aave across five networks and over 11 markets.
The protocol has a strong emphasis on security. It receives blockchain intelligence from TRM Labs, which combines on-chain data and real-world investigations to identify financial crime and other prohibited activities.
dYdX trading platform for crypto assets that recently moved to Layer 2 amid scaling issues in Layer 1.
The move to Layer 2 will result in low fees and no gas fee, fast withdrawals, and instant execution of trades, the company said. The dYdX platform is used by over 250,000 traders, and the company witnessed more than $535 million in trading over the past 24 hours.
There are no fees associated with deposits or withdrawals on dYdX. The maker fee ranges from -0.0085% ($200 million-plus volume ) to 0.020%, and the taker fee is between 0.020% and 0.050%.
7. Nexus Mutual
Nexus Mutual offers decentralized insurance against smart contract failure. It currently offers two products.
- Protocol cover: This allows you to cover assets deposited in a single protocol against a range of loss events, including hacks, exploits, oracle failure, liquidation failure and governance attacks.
- ETH Slashing cover: This secures against losses incurred from penalties in the Ethereum consensus process.
The Nexus Mutual protocol is built on Ethereum and provides the infrastructure for members to buy cover, underwrite risk, assess claims, and build risk management businesses.
The company plans to launch a directors-and-officers cover as well as protection against real-world risks soon.
8. Yearn Finance
Yearn Finance is an aggregator service for DeFi investors. It uses automation to allow them to maximize profits from yield farming.
Yearn Finance's Vaults act as capital pools that automatically generate yield based on opportunities present in the market. Vaults benefit users by socializing gas costs, automating the yield generation and rebalancing process, and automatically shifting capital as opportunities arise.
Illuvium has an ambitious vision: To build the first Interoperable blockchain game universe including an open-world exploration game, industrial city builder, and autobattler, all on the Ethereum blockchain.
Illuvium gives the users complete ownership over their in-game assets, which are all stored on their Ethereum wallet. Each asset is verifiable on the Ethereum blockchain, proving your ownership.
Solve cloud storage problems with blockchain technology!
Storj is a crypto-powered cloud storage platform that allows anyone with a little extra space in their hard drive to rent it out to users looking to store files. The data is automatically encrypted and then split into pieces. Next, these pieces are individually distributed to uncorrelated nodes around the world.
Users pay for storage space with its native token, an ERC-20 token that works on the Ethereum blockchain.
In the past few years, the number of DApps on the Ethereum blockchain has exploded.
As the ecosystem grows, and as Ethereum scales, the number of DApps is likely to explode ever more. Because the blockchain and smart contracts can be used to create DApps around most anything that has a centralized application or infrastructure.
In the coming years, centralization will give way to a more transparent and free decentralized world, and when that happens DApps will be the norm rather than the exception.
Frequently Asked Questions
Everybody has a different definition of “best” Ethereum DApps, but the top 10 are related to DeFi.
Ethereum pioneered smart contracts, which revolutionized the industry. These contracts played a pivotal role in the rise of DeFi, NFTs, and many other DApps that have gained widespread adoption.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.