Application Specific Blockchains using Substrate

Are you ready to dive into the fascinating world of blockchain development? Imagine creating your very own application-specific blockchain from scratch in just one day. Thanks to Substrate, a powerful blockchain development framework, this dream can become a reality. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the process of building your application-specific blockchain using Substrate, step by step.

Why Do We Need Application-Specific Blockchains?

Before we delve into the technical details, let’s address the fundamental question: why do we need application-specific blockchains? Let’s consider some real-world scenarios:

  1. Supply Chain Management: Imagine a global supply chain where transparency, traceability, and efficient inventory management are critical. An application-specific blockchain can provide a tailored solution to track products from manufacturer to end-user, ensuring authenticity and reducing fraud. Traditional public blockchains like Ethereum may not be ideal. They can face scalability issues, leading to slow transactions and high fees.
  2. Healthcare Data: In the healthcare sector, patient data privacy is paramount. An application-specific blockchain can be designed to store and share sensitive patient information securely while granting access only to authorized healthcare providers. Healthcare data requires strict privacy and regulatory compliance. Ethereum’s public nature and gas fees can hinder the confidentiality and affordability needed for secure patient data management.
  3. Tokenized Assets: Creating a blockchain for tokenizing real estate or other assets allows for fractional ownership and trading. An application-specific blockchain can be optimized for these asset management features. While Ethereum is known for its smart contract capabilities, it might not be cost-effective for asset tokenization due to high gas fees. Transaction costs can eat into the benefits of fractional ownership and trading.
  4. Gaming: Consider an online game ecosystem with in-game assets and currencies. Building an application-specific blockchain can enable players to trade assets securely and transparently, as well as maintain ownership outside of the game environment. Ethereum’s public blockchain can be congested, causing slow transaction confirmations. In an online game ecosystem, this could lead to delays and high costs for in-game asset trading.

What is Substrate?

Substrate is an open-source blockchain framework developed by Parity Technologies, the same team behind the Polkadot network. What sets Substrate apart is its flexibility and modularity, making it the perfect choice for developers who want to design complex distributed software systems.

With Substrate, you can build blockchains tailored to your specific needs. It provides the essential building blocks for constructing a blockchain, such as consensus algorithms, networking, and governance, while allowing you to customize and extend these components.

Why Substrate Is the Best Fit for Application-Specific Blockchains

Now that we’ve established the need for application-specific blockchains, let’s explore why Substrate is the perfect choice for building them. Let’s connect this to the real-time scenarios:

  1. Modularity and Customization: In supply chain management, Ethereum’s rigidity may limit your ability to tailor the blockchain to your exact requirements. Substrate’s modularity and customization options make it an ideal choice for optimizing your blockchain.
  2. Built-in Consensus Mechanisms: Ethereum’s consensus mechanisms may not be as flexible as Substrate’s. For healthcare data, you need a consensus mechanism that can be tailored to comply with stringent privacy regulations.
  3. Upgradeability: Ethereum’s hard forks can be disruptive. In asset tokenization, Substrate’s upgradability ensures you can add new asset types and trading features without causing interruptions.
  4. Active Community and Ecosystem: Ethereum’s community is vast, but Substrate’s community, while smaller, is highly focused on application-specific blockchains. You’ll find a niche of developers and resources tailored to your needs.

Getting Started with Substrate

Before we dive into the technical details, make sure you have the following prerequisites in place:

  1. Rust Programming: In the context of supply chain management, understanding Rust is crucial for developing custom modules for tracking and payment automation.
  2. Rustup: Install Rust using rustup, which is essential for coding custom features like data access control in a healthcare data blockchain.
  3. Substrate Node Template: In a gaming blockchain, starting with the Substrate node template is an excellent way to create a blockchain that allows secure asset trading and ownership management.


Rust: If you haven’t already, install Rust on your system. You can do this by running the following command:

curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSf | sh

Substrate Node Template: Clone the Substrate Node Template repository from GitHub:

git clone

Substrate Frontend Template: Clone the Substrate Frontend Template repository from GitHub:

git clone

Rust Toolchain: Ensure you’re using the correct Rust toolchain by running:

cd substrate-node-template
rustup install nightly-2022-02-25
rustup target add wasm32-unknown-unknown --toolchain nightly-2022-02-25
rustup default nightly-2022-02-25

Node.js and Yarn: You’ll need Node.js and Yarn for building and running your frontend. You can install them from the official website and Yarn website.

Setting Up the Substrate Node Template

Compile the Node Template:

Navigate to the substrate-node-template directory and compile the template using the following commands:

cd substrate-node-template
cargo build --release

Run the Node:

Start the Substrate node with the following command:

./target/release/node-template --dev

After stating the node you should see something like this.

Access the Frontend:

To interact with your node, you can use the Substrate Frontend Template. First, navigate to the substrate-front-end directory:

cd substrate-front-end

Install dependencies and start the frontend:

yarn install
yarn start

You can access the frontend in your web browser at http://localhost:8000.

After starting the frontend it looks like this.

This is just the beginning. Substrate offers a vast playground for innovation, and I encourage you to explore its capabilities.

Remember, building a blockchain is a complex task, and continuous learning and improvement are essential. The Substrate community is there to support you on your journey to becoming a blockchain architect.

Now it’s your turn to dive into Substrate and unleash your creativity in blockchain development. With Substrate, you can turn your application-specific blockchain ideas into reality faster than you might have imagined.

Happy coding and blockchain building!

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