The functionality of Blockchain technology goes beyond its usage in/for peer-to-peer transactions. Every blockchain exists in stratified layers which are meant to facilitate its functionality at an optimal level. Basically, a blockchain is made up of five (5) layers and these layers play a distinct role in achieving this. Each layer is integral to assuring the security, transparency, and efficiency of transactions, and together, they make the blockchain a system that can handle all aspects of the development process, from storing and managing data to creating and deploying applications.
Join me on this exciting read as we find out more about these layers:
1. Hardware/Infrastructure layer: The hardware/infrastructure layer refers to the physical framework that supports the blockchain network, which is basically made up of the nodes that contribute to the network's computing power. These nodes communicate with each other by exchanging information about the state of the network, responsible for verifying and recording transactions on the blockchain, as well as help to maintain the security and integrity of the network.
2. Data layer: The data layer of a blockchain network is where the transaction details are stored. Each block in the blockchain contains a set of transactions, along with other information such as the hash of the previous block and the timestamp of the block. In addition to this, the public key of the recipient and the private key of the sender are also stored in each block. The public key is used to identify the recipient of the transaction, while the private key is used to sign the transaction.
3. Network layer: The network layer of a blockchain network is a complex and critical part of a blockchain network that ensures that nodes can communicate with each other and that the data on the blockchain is secure. It links nodes, broadcasts transactions, and distributes data throughout the network, to ensure that all nodes in the network are aware of any transactions that take place, and this is essential for the security and transparency of the network.
4. Consensus layer: The consensus layer of a blockchain network ensures that all nodes in the network agree on the validity of each transaction. It does this by using a consensus mechanism, such as Proof of Work (PoW) or Proof of Stake (PoS) to maintain a set of logic that the nodes in the network follow to agree on the validity of transactions.
5. Application layer: The application layer is the most topmost/visible layer of the blockchain architecture. It is where applications are built, deployed, and via which users interact with the blockchain for a variety of purposes. Smart contracts, Decentralized applications (dApps), and other software such as wallets and browsers are examples of tools that run on top of the application layer.