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As explained in the previous section, the Cartesi Rollups framework achieves scalability by moving the bulk of the computation outside the blockchain, using the ledger as a data source but not as an execution environment. As such, the solution contains both on-chain (layer-1) and off-chain (layer-2) components.

DApp architecture

Borrowing from familiar mainstream terminology, from a developer’s point of view a Cartesi DApp is developed by implementing two main components: a front-end and a back-end.

DApp life cycle

Now that we have described the architecture of a Cartesi DApp and how the front-end and back-end communicate with the Cartesi Rollups framework, let’s step back a bit to discuss how a DApp can be implemented in practice.


The combination of an Optimistic Rollups framework and the Cartesi Machine Emulator enables the development of smart contracts and DApps using any package or library that is available for Linux. This allows developers to break free from the scalability limitations of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), and brings the rise of a new blockchain era to handle real-life and complex use-cases.

Rollups HTTP APIs

In a Cartesi DApp, the front-end and back-end parts of the application communicate with each other through the Rollups framework. This is accomplished in practice by a set of HTTP APIs.


The scalability issue is one of the three parts of the Blockchain Trilemma, along with security and decentralization. Solving the scalability issue refers to any type of improvement within a blockchain system in terms of computational power, throughput, latency, bootstrap time, or cost per transaction. For example, high gas fees make it expensive for users to pay for their transactions within the Ethereum blockchain.

The Blockchain OS

Cartesi, The Blockchain OS, is a layer-2 platform for the development and deployment of scalable decentralized applications. The Blockchain OS offers a Linux operating system coupled with a blockchain infrastructure, which allows DApps to be developed in familiar programming languages like Python without the need to write Solidity code.

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