Blockchain is the underlying development technology of bitcoin, which is well known. However, as the underlying development technology, blockchain needs hierarchical structure to process data and run.
The data layer is the bottom layer of the six hierarchies of the blockchain. We can understand it as a database, but for the blockchain, it is a tamperable and distributed database.
In the data layer, all the data information on the blockchain is stored. From the genesis block without transaction record to the new block, the chain structure is composed of hash value, time stamp of authentication transaction, transaction information, public and private key, etc., which ensures the security of all data when the data is disclosed in the whole network.
In the blockchain network, consensus algorithm is used between nodes to maintain the consistency of data layer. Asymmetric encryption and hash algorithm in cryptography ensure that the data information in the distributed database can not be tampered with and traceable. However, the data layer is not enough. In order to realize the sharing and exchange of data and information, the support of network layer is also needed.
Blockchain network system mainly includes point-to-point mechanism, data transmission and verification mechanism. In essence, it is a P2P network. Point to point means that there is no need for a centralized server to control the system. All resources and services in the network are allocated to each node.
In the blockchain network, nodes need to maintain the system together. When a node creates a new block, it will inform other nodes in the form of broadcast. The node receiving the information will verify the block, and then create a new block. In this way, each node can not only generate information, but also receive information, and jointly maintain the integrity of the whole system through the point-to-point way, such as lightning network, lightning network and other layer 2 payment protocols.
For blockchain, consensus layer mainly includes consensus algorithm mechanism. In other words, a unified rule recognized by all nodes is formed in the whole network to maintain and update the general ledger of the blockchain system. It is one of the core technologies of blockchain and the governance mechanism of blockchain community to make highly dispersed nodes reach an efficient consensus in the decentralized blockchain network.
So far, there are more than ten consensus mechanisms, such as the proof of work (POW) of bitcoin, the proof of rights and interests (POS) of Ethereum, and the proof of entrusted rights and interests (dpos) of EOS.
In the blockchain, the incentive layer mainly includes incentive mechanism and allocation mechanism. Generally speaking, the incentive layer refers to the reward for mining in the blockchain, which encourages miners to verify the transaction information by rewarding some digital assets, so as to maintain the mining activities and the continuous updating of the account book. In the consensus mechanism of bitcoin, it is stipulated that more work pays more, and whoever can find the correct hash value first can get a certain amount of bitcoin reward; The workload proof mechanism of Ethereum stipulates that the longer the age of holding the coin, the greater the probability of getting the reward.
However, the incentive layer is generally only available for the public chain, because the public chain must rely on the nodes of the whole network to jointly maintain the data, so such a set of incentive mechanism can enable the nodes of the whole network to participate in the construction and maintenance of the blockchain system, so as to ensure the security and reliability of the blockchain system.
The contract layer mainly includes various scripts, codes, smart contracts and algorithms, which is the basis of block chain programming. What we usually call “smart contract” belongs to this level. The principle of smart contract is to realize real-time operation by embedding code into the system and setting constraints without endorsement from a third party.
As the name suggests, the application layer is actually what we usually call various application scenarios and cases of blockchain, similar to applications on computer operating systems, web portals on Internet browsers, apps in e-malls or mobile phones, etc. now “blockchain +” is the so-called application layer. At present, the blockchain applications on the market are basically all kinds of applications built on Ethereum, EOS and other public chains, mainly gambling and game applications.
In general, data layer and network layer are divided into protocol layer, contract layer and incentive layer are divided into extension layer. Understanding the six structural layers of blockchain and the corresponding hierarchical functions can help us deepen our re understanding of blockchain technology.