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Learn Custom Blockchains - What are AppChains & Rollups-as-a-service (RaaS)

Updated on
Jun 5, 2024

5 min read

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Custom blockchains are beginning to emerge in Web3 as a popular, preferred approach to building on chain. Custom blockchains encompass frameworks like AppChains and (RaaS) which allow you to improve your products and users' specific needs. Many companies across Web3 and Web2, including dYdX (DeFi), Zora (NFTs), and Walmart (Consumer Goods), are witnessing the benefits of migrating to their custom blockchains and adopting these solutions to innovate and stay competitive in their industries.

In this guide, we'll take a deep dive into AppChains and Rollup-as-a-service (RaaS) and how they are beneficial to those building on chain. We will then explain how QuickNode's custom blockchain solution offering may be an ideal choice for you to get started.

What You Will Do

  • Learn what AppChains and Rollups-as-a-service (Raas) are
  • Learn about the benefits of AppChains and Rollups-as-a-service (RaaS)
  • Discover the different solutions available today for building your custom blockchain

What You Will Need

What is an AppChain?

AppChains are customized blockchains tailored to a specific use case, enabling your blockchain application to be more efficient and optimized.

There are several reasons why a protocol or blockchain application would want its own customized blockchain. First, your product may have different needs, such as greater security and higher transaction throughput, or you may want a permissioned (private) blockchain. The flexibility to customize this blockchain architecture based on your application's needs is what makes AppChains so powerful. For example, dYdX (a popular DeFi trading platform) launched their own customized chain to benefit from a larger magnitude of transactions compared to a Layer-1 (L1) or Layer-2 (L2) typically can handle.

Like general public blockchains, AppChains can support not just a single blockchain application (dApp) but an entire suite of applications while overcoming the potential limitations inherent in existing public blockchains. Some existing frameworks for building customized blockchains include Hyperledger Besu and Avalanche Subnets; both provide SDKs for configuring your own customized blockchain for all different use cases like DeFi, Enterprise, Gaming, and more. However, some things these SDKs don't provide are infrastructure, blockchain explorers, faucets, and more. Luckily, QuickNode provides a toolkit to solve these missing pieces which we will cover soon.

Next, let's talk about Rollup-as-a-service (RaaS).

What is Rollup-as-a-service (RaaS)?

Rollup-as-a-service (Raas) provides a customizable Rollup framework (e.g., Optimistic Rollup, ZK-Rollups; learn more here), allowing you to create your own Rollup chain easily. Rollup chains are one solution to enabling more scalability for your chain while still using the same security mechanisms from Ethereum (L1). As your Rollup chain grows, your infrastructure should also scale. Rollup-as-a-service (Raas) allows you to scale your infrastructure to ensure normal operations, independent of any congestion on its settlement blockchain.

Some key benefits of using Rollup-as-a-service (RaaS) include:

  • Custom Scalability: Highly customizable scaling to enable you to meet the demands of your usage.
  • Simplified Complexity: Deal with only necessary data and transactions relevant to your application for reduced complexity and overhead.
  • Security: Enterprise-grade secure blockchain architecture design, providing more confidence to your users and to the activity on the chain, where transactions are predictable and intended.

To learn more about Rollup chains, the different kinds, and how they work, check out this Youtube Video: ZK-Rollups vs. Optimistic Rollups

Some existing frameworks that enable you to build your own Rollup chain include Polygon CDK, OP Stack, zkSync ZK Stack, and Arbitrum Orbits. Similarly to AppChains, you'll need to manage your infrastructure and attend to your developer's and users needs. This is where you'll need a toolkit containing blockchain explorer support, analytics, scalable architecture, and indexing services.

Required Toolkit to Manage Your Custom Blockchain

As mentioned above, there are several software libraries for creating your own custom blockchain (e.g., AppChain and Rollup), however, none of them come with the tools you need to manage, test, and scale your blockchain. This is where QuickNode can help provide the following toolkit services:

RPC Communication that can Scale for Growing Demands

RPC infrastructure is needed to allow your developers and users to read and write from your custom blockchain. As your blockchain project grows, so do your requirements. The toolkit you use should address this through its scalable RPC solutions, ensuring that your AppChain's or Rollup's performance and efficiency scale accordingly as your needs grow.

Block Explorer Integration

A key component of your custom blockchain toolkit should include a block explorer. This tool allows developers and users to search the blockchain easily and analyze the activity, enhancing transparency and usability within your AppChain or Rollup.


Another core piece of your blockchain is infrastructure, and your toolkit should help manage your own infrastructure (e.g., validators, sequencers, provers, etc.). This will help keep your blockchain at optimal integrity and performance.

Chain Analytics

These analytics provide crucial data to guide your strategic decisions, helping you understand user behavior, identify trends, and optimize your blockchain's performance.

Bridge Solutions for Interoperability

Bridge solutions that enable seamless interoperability between different blockchain networks. These bridges are essential for facilitating the transfer of assets across various blockchain platforms, including custom blockchains like AppChain or Rollup. They are crucial for users who need to move assets for trading, liquidity, or access to a wide range of decentralized applications.

Multi-Signature Wallet Integration for Enhanced Security

The security of transactions and digital assets is a critical concern in blockchain technology. The toolkit you use should offer the capability to integrate multi-signature wallet systems. These wallets enhance transaction security by requiring multiple approvals, making them ideal for organizational use where additional security checks are necessary.

Testnet Faucet

An integral part of the development process is testing. The toolkit you use should include a testnet faucet, which will provide a cost-effective and practical solution for testing your AppChain or Rollup in a non-production environment. This allows for rigorous development and testing without the burden of additional expenses on a production chain.

Which Solution is Right for You?

While both AppChain and RaaS solutions may sound alike and require similar toolkits, there are some key differences:

  • AppChains refer to the creation of custom blockchains, enabling more flexibility to changes around blockchain protocol rules, gas fees, chain parameters, and sequencer-level permissioning. This solution is good when you need more control and customization of your blockchain.
  • Rollup-as-a-service (RaaS) acts as an enhancement layer for existing Layer 1 blockchains, focusing on improving transaction handling efficiency. This service is especially useful for blockchain applications that aim to utilize a pre-existing, secure rollup framework, ensuring scalability as the blockchain network grows. RaaS allows developers to employ advanced rollup techniques effortlessly, bypassing the complexities of developing these technologies from scratch.

Ready to Deploy a Custom Blockchain?

To get access to AppChains and Rollup-as-a-service, request access here. Be sure to include more details about your infrastructure specification, requirements, and timeline.

Additional Resources

Final Thoughts

In this guide, we learned about AppChains and Rollup-as-a-service (RaaS), covering the important problems they solve and what resources are available today to start building.

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