SKALE Architecture: A Developer’s Guide to Hybrid Layer Solutions
In the evolving blockchain space, SKALE Network delivers a pioneering architecture that merges the robustness of Layer 1 solutions with the enhanced scalability of Layer 2 solutions. With each SKALE Chain serving as a distinct App-chain, SKALE effectively leverages the security provisions of the Ethereum mainnet and introduces an unparalleled degree of customization and horizontal scaling.
To fully comprehend the uniqueness of SKALE’s architectural model, developers should be acquainted with the layer terminology in blockchain technology.
Layer 1 is the core blockchain protocol, also called the settlement layer. This base layer handles the recording, verification, and storage of transactions. Examples of Layer 1 blockchains include Ethereum and Bitcoin. While Layer 1 solutions excel in security, they often encounter scalability challenges due to their inherent design.
Layer 2 is an auxiliary framework built atop a Layer 1 blockchain. The primary function of Layer 2 solutions is to augment the blockchain’s transactional capacity and reduce associated costs. Layer 2 solutions process transactions off-chain before consolidating and committing the results to the Layer 1 blockchain. This mechanism significantly enhances transactional throughput and efficiency but at the cost of centralization, data availability, and computational power.
Layer 3, an emerging concept in blockchain technology, aims to facilitate the customization of the underlying blockchain infrastructure. As an application layer, Layer 3 is secured by Layer 2 and further enhances custom scalability and features by providing Blockchain-as-a-service provisioning. However, this scalability and customization are at the cost of a weakly-trusted Layer 3.
Unlike standard blockchain networks operating strictly as either Layer 1 or Layer 2 solutions, SKALE Network presents a unique hybrid architecture. Each SKALE Chain functions as a base layer that handles the recording, consensus, verification, and storage of transactions (Layer 1) without consolidating or rolling results to Layer 1.
Yet each SKALE Chain is built atop Ethereum, which is a Layer 1 blockchain, for security (BLS and DKG), block and message signing, and validator-node orchestration (creation of nodes, rotation of nodes in a chain, and administration of validators and nodes). These approaches enable SKALE Chains, like other Layer 2s, to harness the security provisions of Ethereum, a Layer 1 blockchain.
This hybrid architecture implies that SKALE Chains can swiftly process transactions with the efficiency of Layer 2 solutions while benefiting from the robust security and decentralization offered by the Ethereum mainnet, a characteristic of Layer 1 solutions. This groundbreaking combination mitigates the common compromise between security and scalability experienced in conventional blockchain networks.
And that’s not all: SKALE Network even offers the customization and features promised by Layer 3 blockchain-as-a-service, called App-chains and Hub-chains.
A notable feature of SKALE’s architecture is its conceptualization of App-chains and Hub-chains.
An App-chain is a SKALE Chain tailored for a specific application, offering customization beyond standard blockchain solutions.
A Hub-chain is a SKALE Chain tailored to an ecosystem of applications or needs, offering shared customization and community-operated governance solutions. Hub-chains are designed to mediate inter-chain communication and transactions, providing a shared infrastructure for a group of related hubs or applications. This can be particularly beneficial for enterprise applications, where multiple applications may need to interact and share data in a secure and efficient manner.
This diverges from the one-size-fits-all approach often seen in blockchain networks, where developers must operate within the limits of a predefined and externally managed blockchain. Now developers have more choices to tailor the needs of their dApp and the users and communities that their dApp serves.
Each App- and Hub-chain on SKALE can be configured to suit the unique requirements of a specific application(s). This gives developers the flexibility and autonomy to set their chain’s configurations, token mappings, and other parameters, such as governance and permission structure. This approach empowers developers to build efficient and user-centric applications and promotes enhanced scalability and decentralization. As each application or ecosystem operates on its blockchain, it can process transactions without being impacted by activity on other chains, thereby ensuring fast, efficient, and predictable performance.
For enterprises, the App-chain model offers several advantages. It allows for the creation of permissioned or permissionless blockchains that can be tailored to the enterprise’s specific needs. This can be particularly useful for applications that require high levels of control and security, such as supply chain or CRM services.
Furthermore, the ability to customize the chain parameters can allow for even higher performance, as the enterprise can choose an optimized routing infrastructure for their specific use case. This can lead to enhanced capabilities and efficiency improvements over traditional, one-size-fits-all blockchain solutions.
Finally, the App-chain model allows for greater scalability, as each App-chain operates independently of the others. This means that the performance of one App-chain will not be affected by high traffic or congestion on another chain, allowing for consistent and predictable performance, even under high load.
With the innovative amalgamation of Layer 1 and Layer 2 characteristics, alongside its unique App-chain model, SKALE presents an ecosystem that offers developers a highly secure, scalable, and customizable platform for application development. This leap in blockchain technology enables developers to create applications that can meet user needs more effectively, marking a significant stride in the evolution of blockchain applications.