Introduction to the Internet Computer for dapp users
As an end user, you interact with decentralized applications (dapps) running on the Internet Computer. Here is an index of dapps on the Internet Computer that are available to users.
The Internet Computer was designed to improve the user experience of smart contracts and dapps running on a blockchain. Dapps on the IC are able to serve web content, allowing you to interact with the dapps through your browser. The dapps themselves are run by canisters (dapps/smart contracts) on the IC with the robustness and security guarantees it affords.
Compared to other blockchains
Compared to other smart contract blokchains like Ethereum, the Internet Computer offers the following immediate benefits to dapp users:
Direct web experience
Smart contracts on the Internet Computer securely serve web content directly to users. This is unique among blockchains since their typical dapps have a small part of the logic running in a smart contract, but the actual consumer-facing web or interface is hosted on a centralized cloud provider (e.g. AWS) instead of being served directly from the blockchain.
Example of the user experience, DSCVR is a decentralized social media platform.
Users do not pay for access
Dapp users on Ethereum typically have to pay for using smart contracts. Besides the high fees, it also means that the users have to install plugins or other software (and pay via tokens). The IC's "canister pays model" means that dapp developers can pay for the storage and compute to create a frictionless user experience.
Fast user experience
Traditional smart contracts on other blockchains are slow and deliver a poor user experience. That is why many non-IC dapps use non-blockchain technologies for most of their "dapp." The IC's design goal is that developers can build consumer-facing experiences that are as fast as they would expect from centralized servers. Dapp developers on the IC do not need to choose between "smart contracts" and "fast."
Internet Computer performance tests shows the IC latency at 200 milliseconds for query calls (reads) and 2 seconds for update calls (writes). As of December 1, 2021, The Internet Computer can handle 250,000 queries per second and 11,000 update calls per second.
Users can log in to most dapps on the IC with the Internet Identity dapp. Internet Identity is a blockchain authentication system that enables you to sign in securely and pseudonymously to dapps on the Internet Computer. This makes logging into dapps much easier and safer for dapp consumers. Besides providing a safer authentication experience, it is a service native to the IC so dapp developers who need authentication systems do not need to build their own.
Compared to traditional platforms
Unlike applications hosted on centralized providers dapps on the Internet Computer allow end users to trust their data will be processed as intended.