The global blockchain market size is projected to be worth $163 billion by 2027, which marks an eightfold growth from its 2022 value.
It’s not hard to see the reasons behind this massive spike. Blockchain made the digital world more decentralized, secure and faster. It allows users to distribute digital information without copying it, resulting in genuinely one-of-a-kind crypto assets, such as NFTs that can be owned by only one person.
Blockchain was originally created to give way to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum and others. It has facilitated the use of these digital assets in day-to-day transactions, from banking payments to eCommerce purchases.
Blockchain application development has, therefore, become a very lucrative operation for everyone involved — but not a lot of developers understand how to develop a blockchain-based application for tokens.
In this article, we will take a look at the blockchain app development process: what it consists of and what benefits the creators can expect.
Table of Contents
What Is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a network that decentralizes data storage, shares its data among its peers and acts as a substitute for any traditional database. It provides functionalities for building a blockchain app architecture and transparency of operations.
Blockchain is public and its data cannot be changed. The data is stored chronologically, in so-called “blocks” which, again, are stored in the chain. Whenever a transaction or a data exchange happens in the blockchain, this event is shared with all network members that get a record of this action on their devices.
Two types of blockchains exist:
- Permissioned blockchain only allows authorized users that have certain permissions and roles. The rules of this type of blockchain regulate transactions between members.
- Permissionless blockchain is accessible to all network members that can verify transactions and stay anonymous. It is also available on all devices.
What Are Blockchain Applications?
Blockchain applications or DApps are decentralized applications that don’t have an intermediary between users exchanging data or crypto assets like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and others.
DApps utilize a peer-to-peer blockchain network of computers instead of relying on one network or computer. The fact that they are decentralized means that they are not under control of any authority. DApps are often built on Ethereum platform and can be developed for finance, social media, gaming and other purposes.
What Is Blockchain Application Development?
Blockchain application development is a specialized form of app development that builds blockchain-based apps that enable users to conduct crypto-asset transactions between themselves and the app’s service.
This kind of application development uses a slightly varying set of dev tools, with the biggest difference being the use of blockchain platforms like Ethereum, Hyperledger, R3, Ripple, as well EOS that allow for the development of blockchain-based apps.
How to Develop Blockchain Application in 6 Steps
- Determine the App’s Purpose
- Decide on the Blockchain Platform
- Define Your Business Requirements
- Create a Mockup or Proof of Concept
- Prepare Technical and Visual Designs
- Start the Development
A successful blockchain app development consists of the following six mandatory steps.
1. Determine the App’s Purpose
Like any other application, it is important to understand the end-users' issues and pain points. Identify what your blockchain app should resolve and develop a problem statement. A DApp solution should support your business objectives and benefit your capabilities and capacities.
For instance, if you are a financial service provider that requires blockchain application to help users with their record and bookkeeping, you should look into all the possible app use cases and what specific benefits yours can provide to the users.
Once you have identified the purpose of your blockchain app, the ways in which it can help the users and its core differentiators, it is time to decide on the blockchain platform and development tools you will use.
2. Decide on the Blockchain Platform
You should create your decentralized app on the blockchain platform that meets your business needs. To identify the ideal platform, think in terms of the problems you want to solve for users and the factors such as consensus mechanisms. For instance, you can build a decentralized public app with smart contracts based on Ethereum.
There are two ways you can approach the blockchain platform consideration:
- Create a new blockchain: Creating a new blockchain framework yields fully custom transaction validation, algorithms, tech stack, transaction fee, etc. Although this type of blockchain platform development is most versatile, it is also the most expensive and time-consuming. This road is taken only if a creator thinks of making their own cryptocurrency.
- Clone an existing blockchain platform: A more efficient way is to develop blockchain application on an existing open-source platform whose source you can deploy on your server. Also, this ensures that your app is going to be accepted by a wider array of users.
3. Define Your Business Requirements
Next, you should draft business requirements and brainstorm specific ideas about your DApp, which means:
- Finding the tech components that you should add to the blockchain ecosystem
- Make a product roadmap that shows how to build blockchain application from start to finish, within a certain timeframe
- Develop a blockchain model and conceptual workflow for the app
- Decide whether to build the app on a permissioned or permissionless network
- Pick a front-end programming language, server, external database, etc.
4. Create a Mockup or Proof of Concept
A mockup or a proof of concept should demonstrate and visualize the application of a blockchain app in practice. This can usually be a theoretical build-up or a design prototype.
Theoretical build-up requires use cases that would make stakeholders understand the product’s viability. The app prototype, which is created after receiving feedback, consists of:
- Design sketches
- Tested product
- Information architecture
Once the stakeholders give the green light on your proof-of-concept, it is time to get the technical and visual designs ready.
5. Prepare Technical and Visual Designs
Creating user interfaces for every app component is the next step in developing your blockchain app. You should also come up with APIs to integrate with UIs in order to run an app in the backend. Visual designs provide the appearance and feel to the application. Technical designs are the apps’ tech architecture.
Having designed UIs and administration consoles, you are ready to get to the actual app development.
6. Start the Development
Once the stakeholders approve the alpha version of the app (the version that underwent testing), the developers need to test the software that may not contain all the features and functionalities at this point.
Once the alpha version is released, it is time to prepare the beta version of it. At this stage, the app has the complete set of features, however bugs and issues are a common occurrence. To test the app’s effectiveness, the beta version of the app is given to a group of people outside of the organization who can provide unbiased feedback.
The advanced beta version that comes next is the pre-release stage of the blockchain app that is ready to be released to the general public. After more in-depth testing, the app moves to the production stage and is being delivered.
Blockchain app developers and admins manage the versions of the app that should be deployed to diverse resources with provisions. When the app gets provisioned, you should host it on the main chain. If your blockchain app is a hybrid one (contains on-chain and off-chain business units), it should be deployed on the cloud server and app stores.
An important thing to note is that your DApp should be able to upgrade according to business needs. For instance, in case you must update the smart contract, being able to deploy new contracts should go without any difficulties in the app upgrade process.
Of course, once you deploy the app, that’s not the end of the development phase: post-deployment maintenance is a mandatory step that needs to ensure it works with future upgrades and platforms.
What Is the Value of Blockchain App Development?
Blockchain is being widely implemented across various sectors, from finance and supply chain to government and healthcare.
The reasons for this are the main benefits blockchain brings to the table, which include:
- Reduced costs
- Fast processing
Traceability of blockchain means that, when a blockchain records the transfer of tokens or any other asset from one user to another, there is a full report of where the asset came from and where it made its stops on its journey to the recipient. Having these traceability records on the blockchain verifies the transaction’s authenticity and prevents frauds.
Transparency of transactions is another outcome of blockchain implementation. As blockchain is really just a distributed ledger, all members of the blockchain platform share the same ledger. Network consensus validates this ledger, meaning that a change of a single record would modify all subsequent records. This makes blockchain data more transparent, but also more accurate and secure.
Reduced costs come as a result of blockchain not needing third parties or go-betweens that validate and facilitate transactions. There is no need to review documentation to perform the trade as every user has access to an immutable version.
Fast processing of transactions is another side-effect of blockchain-based apps. All users within the blockchain network can access the same information at all times. Also, the lack of a third-party intermediary makes processing faster than traditional transactions.
How Much Time and Resources Are Needed for Blockchain App Development?
The timeline for a blockchain app development process depends on numerous factors.
The proof-of-concept stage typically takes 2 to 3 weeks, then it takes another 4-5 weeks to create a minimum viable product with the essential set of features only.
Based on the clients’ requirements (or yours, if you are developing an app for your needs) the launch of the application may take an additional 2 to 3 months.
As for the cost of developing a blockchain application, that also depends on several key factors, beginning with whom you hire to develop the app. This can be:
- An in-house team of blockchain app developers
- Blockchain development companies that specialize in app development
Other aspects that factor into the cost of developing a blockchain app include:
- The type of blockchain application you require
- Specialists involved in creating the app
- Tools they will use
- The blockchain app project complexity and a number of functionalities
- Subscription costs
Blockchain App Development Takeaways
To reiterate, blockchain is a powerful and widely used technology for developing apps that are decentralized, whose transactions are not overseen by any authorities and that is safe and fast to use.
More and more companies and businesses are integrating blockchain into their services and offers. In fact, the list of industries adopting blockchain is growing by the minute and, at the moment, this technology is most prevalent in:
- Online gambling
- Real estate
- Music Industry
- IoT startups
- Decentralized apps provide transparent storage and — as it is still developing — this market is still quite unsaturated. This marks a fine opportunity to position your business as one of the pioneers and leaders in that regard.
The six mandatory steps of creating a blockchain-based app are:
- Come up with your app’s purpose and differentiating point
- Pick a blockchain platform (or create your own)
- Define your business requirements
- Create a proof of concept
- Prepare technical and visual designs
- Develop the app in multiple iterations
If you are considering developing a blockchain-based app of your own, it may be advisable to hire a team of specialized experts from the blockchain development industry over assembling an in-house team.
In the long run, it is the most affordable and secure solution. The specialized agencies are adept in developing blockchain-based apps for a variety of clients from different industries and niches and are familiar with the obstacles your business may face.
They are also at the forefront of cutting-edge trends and use technologies that can deliver end-products that meet the evolving expectations of target audiences.