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What is Chainlink VRF

Building a blockchain from scratch is complex. In context to this, it is important to provide a secure platform for applications and for users to trust; you must have the right technologies involving advanced cryptography and distributed network communication. Further, the ecosystem must address the challenges associated with the existing blockchains and how those shortcomings hinder that specific blockchain protocol.

Blockchain aspects like governance, interoperability, upgradeability, or even the blockchain trilemma of sacrificing one “aspect” of decentralization, security and scalability to accommodate the other two are to be considered before building a blockchain. Moreover, it would be good if you considered the right use case of your blockchain and why you are building it. The substrate is a perfect solution for developing a custom blockchain optimized for specific use cases to address these aspects. It is a great fit for innovative and advanced blockchains and is a perfect option for developers wanting to build a blockchain that is interoperable and customizable with easy upgradability over time.

Using substrate, you can overcome the complexities of reusing a general-purpose smart contract-enabled blockchain and develop use cases specific to your needs. For example, developers do not need to undergo shortcomings like the time-consuming upgradability approach and inheritance of a blockchain’s specific architecture.

Now that you understand the core concept of substrate, you might be wondering if substrate can assist you in developing a blockchain catering to your particular industry with clear-cut use cases. So, let us understand the use cases of substrate framework through this article.

What is Substrate?

Before moving forward to the substrate use cases, it is necessary to understand what Substrate is completely. The Substrate can be considered a Software Development Kit (SDK), which provides developers with the fundamental components of each blockchain to create a protocol similar yet distinct to other blockchains.

The similarities lie in common blockchain elements like storage, consensus and cryptography. The Substrate provides you the framework for such common characteristics to blend or modify them to match the purpose of your project. It facilitates the development of a chain way beyond what is achievable for others.

The Substrate as a blockchain framework enables users to make chains safer, cheaper, easier, and faster. It is

Use cases of substrate framework infographic

  • Flexible – Substrate is designed as a modular and flexible toolkit that allows you to create a chain with entirely different components.
  • Open – Substrate toolkit and architecture are distributed under an open-source license.
  • Interoperable – Blockchains made from the Substrate are interoperable with other blockchains made similarly. Moreover, if needed, it can be connected to another blockchain through bridges or parachains of Polkadot.
  • Future-proof – The Substrate is upgradable, composable and adaptable.

Use cases of substrate framework

Substrate framework use cases vary. It eases developers’ work by providing the right environment for blockchain-based application development. Following are the most prominent substrate use cases:

Custom blockchains

The substrate is a blockchain framework for developing customized blockchains that can be run entirely autonomously. It does not need any external technology to function, and it is the fastest way to launch a blockchain with the least effort. With substrate, the developer does not need to worry about the fundamental components, including networking, data layer, transaction queue, consensus and more. Moreover, your blockchain project can be upgraded over time using a pallet that suits your need.

The substrate is extensible and modular. Depending on the application-specific use, a usual blockchain framework can limit you in certain aspects of customizability. However, a substrate is more flexible in this regard. At several stages in your blockchain development process, it offers you the liberty to choose between technical freedom and ease of development. You can use custom blocks or develop new ones. In the case of smart contracts, you have the freedom not to create one or create one with your functions. Unlike the smart contracts in Ethereum, where you cannot change a smart contract once deployed, substrate allows you to modify the smart contracts using the on-chain upgrade mechanism.

Blockchains built on a substrate can stay independent or be interoperable if connected to the parachain, and they can also leverage the security and other benefits of parachain if connected.

Parachains

Developing parachains is one of the important substrate use cases. Parachains are pivotal in the Polkadot ecosystem that runs parallel to the relay chain and leverages the benefits of the relay chain like payment settlements or shared security. The architecture of parachains facilitates faster transactions at a lower cost while maintaining the privacy of the user data.

Anyone can deploy a parachain tailored and customized for any particular use case via the substrate. Although it can be built using other software options and tools, the substrate simplifies the entire process.

The following features of substrate show why substrate is a better option for building parachains:

  • WASM runtime engine: substrate’s WASM compatibility ensures high performance and forkless upgrades.
  • Consists of development modules
  • Byzantine Fault Tolerance consensus algorithm: BFT consensus algorithm ensures that the parachain or blockchain works even when some nodes are disabled or broken.
  • Peer-to-peer networking
  • It can seamlessly implement a browser node and interact with all cloud nodes.
  • You can straightaway deploy the projects you have built to Polkadot and start execution with the help of substrate.
  • Substrate offers cross-platform database storage abstraction.

As such, parachain and substrate go side by side. If you want to build a parachain on Polkadot, the substrate is the primary option for you. It is simple yet useful that can assist you in constructing a robust, dynamic and highly functional parachain. Moreover, the substrate can convert a solo chain to a parachain or connect a solo chain with a parachain.

Pallets

We can have a modular design thanks to pallets, which are domain-specific runtime modules. The pallets can be considered discrete pieces of logic that specify the capabilities of your blockchain. Multiple pallets can be added to our runtime, and all of these pallets perform specific tasks fulfilling the business needs of the blockchain.

You can find several pre-built pallets that are generally on the substrate developer site. However, if it does not suit your requirement, using macros from the FRAME programming environment, you can design a custom pallet for a substrate runtime.

The runtime of the substrate node template is FRAME-based. FRAME is a library of code facilitating the development of substrate runtime by composing modules or pallets. Substrate allows you to create an application-specific pallet that can determine the functionality of your blockchain or application. For instance, if you want to implement the functionality of zero-knowledge proof in your application, you can build a pallet for the same using substrate.

Cross-chain Bridges

To transfer tokens or other digital assets, smart contract events or instructions, or even data between various blockchains, users need to employ a cross-chain bridge, which is a set of properly designed code, including smart contracts. A cross-chain bridge ensures that two chains can still work together safely despite having different protocols, laws, governance structures, etc.

Building cross-chain bridges are one of the significant substrate use cases. Using substrate, you can build a cross-chain bridge to connect your blockchain application to any other blockchain network and also to the Polkadot network to leverage the complete benefits of relay chain and parachain. It can bring true interoperability to your network, which can help users to transfer assets, data and more to transfer between chains, which can, in turn, increase the value of your asset.

The substrate framework offers a whole collection of components and pallets to develop bridges. But if the pre-built pallets do not comply with your application requirements, you can also build a bridge that suits your demand using the substrate.

Parathreads

Parathreads expand the parachain concept to harness the benefits of shared security and connectivity easily. Polkadot is currently more accessible to projects who might not have the resources to get a dedicated parachain slot and offers the chance to become a parachain if their application needs high throughput. Any development team may access the relay chain and bootstrap their application using parathreads.

Parathreads can be ideal for the following three applications:

  • Applications in need of an on-ramp to Polkadot
  • Applications concerned about losing parachain slots
  • Applications with more ratio of reads to writes
  • With parathread, anyone can connect their application to Polkadot’s relay chain and leverage its benefit, including interoperability. You can build your parathread with the help of substrate.

Relay Chain

The relay chain is the center chain of the Polkadot network that is built using the substrate. It is responsible for the network’s security, consensus and cross-chain interoperability. All parachains are connected to the relay chain and harness its benefits.

With substrate, you can start your Polkadot-like relay chain. Anyone can access substrate tutorials that offer various templates. However, the templates available may not be flexible enough for your use case, and if so, you can either construct one on your own or approach a substrate development company that can make the job easier for you.

What Substrate development services does LeewayHertz offer?

  • Cross-chain bridges – Our team of developers can assist you in building robust cross-chain bridges with the substrate framework to facilitate the exchange of assets and seamless interaction between chains.
  • Relaychain development – We build highly secure substrate-based blockchains tailored for specific use cases.
  • Sidechain Integration – We can help you integrate an existing substrate-powered relaychain or dApp to link with other chains or Polkadot.
  • Smart contract development – Leverage our expertise in smart contract development to create smart contracts on a substrate-based blockchain.
  • Parachain development – We provide end-to-end parachain development services using substrate framework and Rust.
  • Pallets development – We understand how to write new pallets in the substrate framework using Rust and can help you write what you need, be it consensus algorithm or creating NFTS or more.

Conclusion

Substrate simplifies blockchain development with no technical complexities. It is open-source, popular, highly customizable and flexible with WASM, permitting changes to the blockchain logic for future upgradations. Thus, it enables developers to seamlessly create interoperable blockchains tailored for specific use cases without cloning another general-purpose smart contract blockchain, promoting creativity and innovation.

Looking for Substrate development services? Connect with our Substrate and Polkadot experts to build the project of your dreams!

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Author’s Bio

Akash Takyar
Akash Takyar
CEO LeewayHertz
Akash Takyar is the founder and CEO at LeewayHertz. The experience of building over 100+ platforms for startups and enterprises allows Akash to rapidly architect and design solutions that are scalable and beautiful.
Akash's ability to build enterprise-grade technology solutions has attracted over 30 Fortune 500 companies, including Siemens, 3M, P&G and Hershey’s. Akash is an early adopter of new technology, a passionate technology enthusiast, and an investor in AI and IoT startups.

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