Skip to main content


What follows is a summary of the architecture and the components that are involved in running a Descartes Application, meaning some DApp that makes use of our SDK. It is convenient to start with the description of the typical ingredients involved in a decentralized application. Namely, the blockchain node and the client software.

As with any decentralized application, users are expected to have access to a blockchain node. This could be a local Ethereum node (like geth, parity or a remote one such as Infura. On the blockchain, the application logic is written in a set of DApp Smart Contracts. Moreover, the off-chain logic is executed on the Client Software, either through the internet browser (using web3) or by installing a native client. These are the typical ingredients of a decentralized application.

For an application that uses the Descartes SDK, one also needs the Descartes Infrastructure, which is composed of an on-chain and an off-chain component, as described below.

Descartes on-chain

The on-chain component of Descartes is a set of smart contracts developed by Cartesi. For convenience, the DApp developer interacts with a single one of these contracts, named "Descartes". The API to interact with the Descartes smart contract is described here.

Descartes off-chain

The off-chain component of Descartes is called the Descartes Node, which plays a very similar role to the blockchain node. More precisely, in the same way that a blockchain node allows clients to interact with the first layer, a Descartes Node allows clients to interact with Cartesi.

It is expected that all validator parties (claimer and challengers) have a Descartes Node working on their behalves. In Section Topologies, we discuss alternatives to this setup.

These nodes will guarantee that their interests will be enforced on the blockchain by:

  • automatically running computations;
  • submitting results;
  • verifying claims;
  • challenging and punishing misbehavior.

All these tasks are performed automatically, with no intervention from the DApp users or even the DApp Client Software.

Descartes Architecture

This gives a complete picture of the software components involved in running a Descartes powered DApp: The Blockchain Node, the DApp Client Software, the DApp Smart Contracts and the Descartes Node, see the above picture.