The revolution that blockchain has brought across various industries has been encouraging more enterprises to build innovative, future-proof, and highly feasible blockchains. However, building a blockchain from scratch is challenging for many enterprises. Substrate framework simplifies this process by providing built-in templates, high-end developer tools, and field-tested code that saves considerable developers’ time while providing them endless customization abilities.
Also, Substrate has unique attributes like customizable modules, multichain capabilities, and advanced security options, which make it a trusted and widely-adopted framework.
Now that we are aware of Substrate’s importance and adoption, the next step is to understand its unique capabilities and features. Later, we will explore a list of Substrate framework use cases for enterprises.
Briefing Substrate framework and its distinctive attributes
As discussed, Substrate is an open-source blockchain framework for building customized, future-proof blockchain in a simplified way, opposed to the traditional blockchain development approach. With Substrate, enterprises do not need to build a blockchain project from scratch as they can leverage the Substrate’s vast ecosystem of popular blockchain projects and their publicly available resources, which enables a seamless and less-complex development of custom blockchains and decentralized consumer applications.
Designed as a flexible, modular, and highly customizable framework– Substrate allows your blockchain to be optimized for any use case, eliminating the challenges related to upgradability. That said, Substrate makes blockchain development simple, faster, cheaper, and more secure than ever before.
Enterprises building on Substrate will gain free access to a comprehensive codebase compiled and used by prominent players building innovative blockchain networks.
Now, to dive deeper into how Substrate simplifies blockchain development, let’s understand what was happening before Substrate was launched. Couple of years ago, anyone trying to build a blockchain must have expertise in building and implementing at least the following essential components into the network ecosystem:
- Database to store the state of the chain.
- P2P Network to coordinate all the nodes while allowing them to store and share data.
- Block authoring to determine which block is valid.
- Fork choice rule to resolve forks.
- Transition handling provides a standard process that every transaction adheres to.
- State transition function (runtime logic) to record the changes in the blockchain ledger.
Substrate by default offers all these essential, production-ready components within its framework collection that you can implement directly into your blockchain, or you do endless customization. However, you must have expertise in implementing specific components that make your chain unique.
For example, if your blockchain ecosystem wants to introduce a new smart contract virtual machine, you should have hands-on experience in writing custom logic for this feature. This way, Substrate removes the pain of writing code from scratch, creating components, modules, logics etc. Below are the unique attributes of Substrate that make it a powerful and widely adopted blockchain framework:
Substrate is open-source, meaning any developer across the world can leverage its open protocols, such as jsonRPC and libp2p, thereby customizing their blockchain architecture as required. Also, if developers seek full customization, there is a Substrate core to create and implement runtime logic from scratch using the programming language of their choice in WebAssembly. Substrate also enables developers to use advanced tools for faster development, deployment, debugging, and upgradation. These tools are developed with the Substrate framework ecosystem and others who contribute indirectly to the Substrate’s blockchain stack. As a whole, Substrate avoids the developers’ need to explore different ecosystems and gather dev resources from there.
Substrate framework is highly flexible and fully modular in nature that unleashes the enterprise’s capabilities of building blockchains rather than bounding them within the design decisions made by others.
Web3 developers can design a blockchain network with desired stack, consensus, and finality engine by choosing pallets from Substrate’s growing list or creating the pallets with their own. Whichever option you opt for, you get to build a blockchain built for specific use cases, which enterprises can easily upgrade based on the evolving industry standards and dApp requirements.
Enterprises have the choice to build a solo or independent blockchain, a blockchain with an integrated bridge, and to build blockchains as parachains. Polkadot-based parachains are powered with a Cross-chain Messaging Passing feature, known as XCMP, to interoperate with other parachains and independent blockchains on the Polkadot ecosystem.
The most difficult part of blockchain development is to modify the existing infrastructure and make it compatible with the changing requirements. Knowing this, Substrate allows developers to use a globally-recognized open protocol– WebAssembly, in which changes occur on a separate layer from the foundation so that enterprises can get upgrades done from time to time and thus stay relevant to the technical advancements.
What are the things enterprises can build using the Substrate framework?
Following is the list of blockchain applications enterprises can build using the Substrate framework. However, the first need is to decide the project type– whether they want the final result to be delivered as smart contracts, custom runtime, individual pallets, or parachains.
Layer-1 and Layer-2 blockchains
Using the Substrate framework, enterprises can build Layer-1 blockchains to serve as the foundation for the network and the layer-2 blockchains running on its ecosystem. Talking about a popular example, Substrate supports the development of main chains like Relay chain that coordinates all the linked parachains, provides them with a reliable infrastructure, and ensures unparalleled security. Substrate-based Layer-1 blockchains, also known as base blockchains, can include consensus mechanism, block (transaction) validation, and data storage capabilities to provide a reliable infrastructure and necessary functions, enabling efficient development of dApps and custom blockchain networks.
Further, Substrate enables the development of Layer-2 blockchains, which are the scaling solutions built on top of L1 blockchains. These types of blockchains are designed to add custom features and functionalities to any blockchain while enhancing security and scalability capabilities. Note that layer-2 solutions rely on Layer-1’s security and consensus; hence building them is already easier— the substrate framework makes the process even easier, saving significant time and overall cost.
Custom blockchains or Appchains
Substrate allows enterprises to build application-specific blockchains or AppChains for single-use applications. This provides them a more powerful infrastructure to manage their large and complex dApps while enjoying greater scalability, privacy, and customization abilities.
Let’s take the example of dApp with 400-500K active monthly users and $5-7 billion trading volume might face challenges related to speed and scalability in a shared ecosystem. But, when these dApps are operated on independent blockchains, they get to utilize the entire ecosystem, its resources, and other benefits; hence the dApps show better performance with almost zero challenges and technical complexities. Once you finish building your AppChain, you can connect it to any base chain to make it interoperable with all the existing chains in the ecosystem.
Want to learn more about AppChains and its benefits for enterprises? Read our detailed blog on this-
Note that smart contracts on Substrate are built as projects, and developers are required to use ‘ink! programming language’ to create the contract.
Substrate provides an out-of-the-box approach to building smart contracts by offering EVM Frontier-based pallets and Contracts pallets within the FRAME library for Wasm-based contracts. Using these resources, developers can build Frontier EVM contracts, Substrate WebAssembly smart contracts, and individual contract pallets to enhance the capabilities of regular EVM contracts.
As we know, nodes are an integral part of smart contract development. With Substrate, developers have the choice to use preconfigured Substrate nodes or to create contract pallets with standard node templates manually. Node-as-a-service providers like Zeeve provide developers with ready-to-use, scalable nodes to use for Substrate development so that their significant focus remains on writing the logic of the smart contract.
Parachains and Parathreads
Parachains and Parathereads are custom blockchains that are created to operate and manage a single application (dApp) while connecting to the Polkadot’s Relay chain to leverage the underlying security, tokenomics, and consensus.
However, Parachains built with Substrate can implement a completely new token model, security modules, and consensus algorithm if they do not want to proceed with the Relay chain.
Custom blockchains built as Parachains gain interoperability with each other so that these chains can seamlessly share arbitrary data, cryptocurrencies, and crucial information back and forth without using cross-chain bridges or oracles. In line with interoperability, Parachains offers higher scalability, relatability, upgradability, better governance, and applicability.
Advanced decentralized applications (dApps)
The Substrate framework offers a range of extensible modules, components, and pallets to build dApps, enabling faster and more efficient development. All kinds of sophisticated dApps for domains spanning decentralized finance (DeFi), e-commerce, gaming, NFTs, and cryptocurrencies can be easily built with Substrate. Following are some of the main examples of dApps you can build.:
DeFi solutions- Enterprises can use Substrate to build innovative and powerful DeFi solutions to automate finance-related operations such as crypto lending, digital assets trading, and finance management.
Digital wallets- Substrate supports the development of web3 wallets that stores, trade, and manages cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and a range of digital assets. Also, these digital wallets act as a gateway for the web3 ecosystem, allowing developers to interact with publicly-accessible decentralized applications.
AI and IoT applications- With AI and IoT-based applications on the rise, Substrate allows enterprises to build Artificial intelligence and IoT applications on the top of the blockchain ecosystem to power decentralization and security into their ecosystem.
Decentralized gaming applications- Decentralized gaming platforms can be developed with the Substrate framework to make the gaming experience more exciting by allowing players to own in-game assets and introducing features like customizable 3D avatars, properties, vehicles, and weapons.
How Zeeve is simplifying Substrate-based blockchain development for enterprises
Zeeve simplifies Substrate-based blockchain development and launch with integrated developer tools and plugins meanwhile offering a wizard-based configuration panel, extensibility options, and unmatched flexibility. Enterprises building on Substrate can tap into real-time ledger data with our integrated subgraph and subquery project support. They can use our reliable, secure, and scalable platform to deploy and manage all your Substrate nodes and networks. The infrastructure enables custom configurations for Substrate-based chains, including runtime configuration, genesis configuration, tokenomics, and collator config, meanwhile connecting your independent blockchain to any base chain or Layer-1 ecosystem.
Talking about integration, we integrate white-labeled explorers, wallets, token faucets, and other essential components. We power your Substrate-based blockchain infrastructure with high-performance nodes, secure RPC APIs, and load-balancing features for unparalleled performance. Enterprises building their custom blockchain with Zeeve get access to a graphical dashboard to display the performance of their network, and if something goes wrong, instant alerts are sent to the administrator.
If you are planning to build an AppChain or already working on a complex Substrate-based project, Zeeve is happy to do all the heavy lifting for you. Further, if you want to migrate your existing dApps to a Substrate infrastructure, Zeeve’s blockchain consultants and dedicated DevOps make migration a seamless and hassle-free experience for you. For more information on our AppChain services or a detailed, project-oriented discussion– schedule a one-to-one call with our blockchain consultants.