What is an Application Specific Blockchain (Appchain)?

Last Updated:
September 14, 2023
What is an Application Specific Blockchain (Appchain)? - Feature Image

Discover the transformative potential of Application Specific Blockchains (Appchains) in our comprehensive guide. Learn how Appchains are revolutionizing the blockchain space with specialization and customization.

In the ever-evolving landscape of blockchain technology, a new concept has been making waves — the Application Specific Blockchain, commonly referred to as an Appchain. This innovation promises to bring a new level of customization and efficiency to the blockchain space. But what exactly is an Appchain, and how does it stand to revolutionize the blockchain ecosystem? In this comprehensive guide, we delve deep into the world of Appchains, exploring their definition, benefits, working mechanism, real-world applications, and the future trajectory.

Defining Appchains

At its core, an Appchain is a standalone blockchain designed to run a single application. Unlike general-purpose blockchains that are built to handle a wide array of applications, Appchains are tailored to suit the specific needs and requirements of a particular application, offering a high degree of customization and optimization. This specialization allows for a streamlined approach to blockchain development, focusing on the nuances of a specific application rather than accommodating a broad spectrum of functionalities.

The Genesis of Appchains

The concept of Appchains is not entirely new; it has its roots in the broader movement towards specialization in the blockchain space. As the industry matured, there was a growing realization that a one-size-fits-all approach to blockchain design could not cater to the diverse needs of various applications. This led to the birth of Appchains, a solution that promises to address the limitations of general-purpose blockchains by offering a platform that is tailor-made for individual applications. It's a progressive step in the blockchain evolution, moving from a universal solution to a more focused, application-centric approach, enhancing performance and functionality.

Benefits of Appchains

Appchains come with a host of benefits that make them a promising avenue in the blockchain space. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Customization: Appchains allow for a high degree of customization, enabling developers to create a blockchain that is perfectly suited to the needs of their application. This means that every element, from the consensus mechanism to the transaction validation process, can be tailor-made to suit the application’s requirements.
  • Efficiency: By focusing on a single application, Appchains can offer a level of efficiency that is hard to achieve with general-purpose blockchains. This results in faster transaction speeds and a more streamlined user experience.
  • Security: Appchains can be designed with security features that are specifically tailored to the needs of the application they are serving, enhancing the overall security of the system. This targeted approach to security ensures that the blockchain is equipped to handle the unique threats and vulnerabilities pertinent to its specific use case.

How Do Appchains Work?

Understanding the working mechanism of Appchains is pivotal in grasping their potential to revolutionize the blockchain space. Here, we delve into the technical aspects of Appchains:

  • Creation: The creation of an Appchain involves defining the specific parameters and rules that will govern the blockchain. This includes setting up the consensus mechanism, transaction validation processes, and other core functionalities.
  • Deployment: Once created, the Appchain is deployed as a standalone blockchain, functioning independently while being tailor-made for a specific application.
  • Interaction with Other Blockchains: Despite functioning independently, Appchains can interact with other blockchains through interoperability features, facilitating a cohesive ecosystem where different blockchains can work together seamlessly.

Appchains vs. L2s

In the blockchain space, it is essential to differentiate between various solutions like Appchains and Layer 2 solutions (L2s). Here, we dissect the primary differences and similarities between the two:

  • Purpose and Focus: While Appchains are designed to cater to specific applications, offering a high degree of customization, L2s primarily focus on enhancing the scalability and performance of existing Layer 1 blockchains.
  • Independence: Appchains operate as independent blockchains tailored for a specific application, whereas L2s are built on top of existing blockchains, leveraging their security and infrastructure.
  • Development Complexity: Creating an Appchain can be more complex as it involves developing a new blockchain from scratch, while L2 solutions are generally easier to implement as they build upon existing blockchain frameworks.
  • Security: Appchains have their security protocols, which can be tailored to the needs of the application. In contrast, L2s inherit the security features of the underlying Layer 1 blockchain.

Appchains vs. Sidechains

Understanding the distinction between Appchains and sidechains can offer a clearer perspective on the available blockchain solutions. Let's explore how they compare:

  • Integration with Main Chains: Sidechains are chains parallel to the main chain, facilitating the offloading of transactions to reduce congestion. Appchains, on the other hand, are independent blockchains designed specifically for a particular application.
  • Customization: Appchains offer a higher degree of customization compared to sidechains, allowing for the creation of a blockchain environment that is perfectly tailored to the needs of a specific application.
  • Security: Sidechains may leverage the security of the main chain, while Appchains have to establish their security protocols, which can be both a strength and a weakness, depending on the implementation.
  • Use Cases: While sidechains are generally used to enhance the scalability and functionality of existing blockchains, Appchains are used to create a bespoke environment for specific applications, offering a targeted solution.

Appchains vs. L1s

Layer 1 solutions (L1s) form the foundation of the blockchain space. Here, we explore how Appchains stand in comparison to L1s:

  • Generalization vs. Specialization: L1s are general-purpose blockchains that can host a wide variety of applications, whereas Appchains are specialized blockchains designed for specific applications, offering a targeted solution.
  • Development and Deployment: Developing an Appchain can be a more streamlined process as it focuses on a specific application, while L1 development involves catering to a wide array of potential applications, making it a more complex process.
  • Performance: Due to their specialized nature, Appchains can offer optimized performance for specific applications, potentially outperforming L1s in their niche areas.
  • Community and Ecosystem: L1s generally have a larger community and ecosystem, offering a wide range of tools and resources. In contrast, Appchains, being newer and more specialized, might have a smaller community and ecosystem.

Appchain Benefits and Trade-offs

In the dynamic landscape of blockchain technology, Appchains emerge as a nuanced solution, bringing forth a range of benefits while also presenting certain trade-offs. Below, we delve into the advantages and the potential downsides of adopting Appchains:


  • Specialization: Appchains allow for the creation of blockchains that are finely tuned to serve a specific application, potentially offering a level of performance and efficiency that is hard to achieve with general-purpose blockchains.
  • Customization: Developers have the freedom to tailor every aspect of the blockchain to suit the needs of their application, from the consensus mechanism to the security protocols, offering a high degree of customization.
  • Interoperability: Many Appchains are designed to work seamlessly with other blockchains, fostering a cohesive ecosystem where different blockchains can communicate and collaborate efficiently.
  • Innovation: The Appchain approach encourages innovation by allowing developers to experiment with new blockchain architectures and consensus mechanisms without being constrained by the limitations of existing platforms.


  • Security Concerns: Creating a new blockchain from scratch can be a double-edged sword. While it allows for customization, it also opens up potential security vulnerabilities if not designed and implemented correctly.
  • Resource Intensive: Developing an Appchain can be resource-intensive, requiring a substantial investment in terms of time, expertise, and financial resources.
  • Smaller Ecosystem: Being a newer and more specialized solution, Appchains might not have as large a community and ecosystem as established blockchain platforms, potentially limiting access to resources and support.
  • Complexity: The high degree of customization that Appchains offer can also lead to increased complexity, potentially making it more challenging to develop and maintain the blockchain over time.

What Blockchains Use Appchains?

As the concept of Appchains is relatively new, it is gradually being adopted by various blockchain platforms seeking to enhance their efficiency and customization. Let's take a look at some of the notable blockchains that are pioneering the use of Appchains:


  • Polkadot is one of the front-runners in the adoption of Appchains. Through its substrate framework, it facilitates the creation of application-specific blockchains, allowing developers to create blockchains that are tailor-made for their applications. This approach not only enhances efficiency but also fosters a collaborative ecosystem where different blockchains can work together seamlessly.


  • The Cosmos network is another prominent player in the Appchain space. It empowers developers to create bespoke blockchains through its Cosmos SDK, fostering a universe of interconnected blockchains, each serving a unique purpose and functioning optimally for its designated application.


  • Avalanche is making strides in the Appchain space by offering a platform where developers can create custom blockchains that are interoperable with other chains in the Avalanche ecosystem. This approach fosters a cohesive environment where different blockchains can communicate and collaborate, enhancing the overall functionality and user experience.

Near Protocol

  • Near Protocol is also venturing into the Appchain space, leveraging its technology to facilitate the creation of application-specific blockchains. This initiative aims to enhance the scalability and efficiency of the blockchain ecosystem, offering a platform where each application can have its dedicated blockchain, optimized for its specific needs.


  • Kusama, a cousin network of Polkadot, is also exploring the Appchain concept, offering a platform where developers can create and deploy application-specific blockchains. This approach fosters innovation and experimentation, allowing for a vibrant ecosystem of diverse and specialized blockchains.

It is important to note that the Appchain landscape is continuously evolving, with new players entering the space and existing players expanding their offerings. As the industry matures, we can expect to see a wider adoption of Appchains, with more blockchain platforms leveraging this innovative approach to enhance their ecosystems.

How to Choose the Best Appchain

Choosing the right Appchain for your project is a critical decision that can significantly influence the success of your application. Here, we outline the key factors that should guide your choice:

Alignment with Your Project’s Goals

First and foremost, the Appchain you choose should align perfectly with the goals and objectives of your project. Consider the specific functionalities and features your application requires and ensure that the Appchain can cater to these needs effectively.

Security Features

Security is a paramount concern in the blockchain space. Evaluate the security features of the Appchain, considering aspects such as consensus mechanism and cryptographic techniques employed to secure the data. Opt for an Appchain that offers robust security features to safeguard your application against potential threats.


As your application grows, it will require a blockchain that can scale accordingly. Consider the scalability options offered by the Appchain, ensuring that it can handle a growing number of transactions efficiently without compromising on speed or security.

Community and Developer Support

A vibrant community and strong developer support can be a great asset when working with Appchains. Consider the community backing the Appchain, as a well-supported blockchain can offer a wealth of resources, tools, and expertise to aid in your project’s development.


In the interconnected world of blockchain, interoperability is a key feature. Ensure that the Appchain you choose can seamlessly interact with other blockchains, facilitating a cohesive and collaborative ecosystem where your application can leverage the strengths of various blockchains.

Ease of Use

For a smooth development process, opt for an Appchain that offers a user-friendly interface and a rich set of tools and resources. This will facilitate a hassle-free development process, allowing you to focus on building and optimizing your application.

Regulatory Compliance

Depending on the nature of your application, regulatory compliance might be a crucial factor. Ensure that the Appchain you choose complies with the necessary regulatory frameworks, safeguarding your project from potential legal hurdles in the future.

Real-World Applications and Future Trajectory

As Appchains continue to gain traction, we can expect to see a surge in real-world applications. Industries such as finance, healthcare, and supply chain can leverage Appchains to create customized blockchain solutions that address their specific needs, paving the way for a new era of blockchain technology that is more efficient, secure, and user-friendly.

Looking ahead, the future of Appchains is incredibly promising. As more developers embrace this approach, we can expect to see a proliferation of Appchains, each serving a unique niche and contributing to a vibrant and diverse blockchain ecosystem.


In conclusion, Appchains represent a significant milestone in the evolution of blockchain technology. By offering a platform that is tailor-made for individual applications, Appchains stand to revolutionize the blockchain space, fostering a landscape where efficiency, customization, and security are not just theoretical concepts but a lived reality. As we forge ahead into this exciting new frontier, Appchains hold the promise of a blockchain ecosystem that is more robust, adaptable, and suited to the diverse needs of the digital age.