TApps Relation to Blockchain
One common misconception that we often hear is that people think TApps are running directly on a layer1 blockchain. TEA uses the host layer1 for administrative purposes (like reaching consensus on the trust status of layer2 nodes), but there’s no compute infrastructure there. TApps are not running on blockchain but are instead running on TEA’s layer2. Once deployed, they can then run on top of various layer1 chains. These TApps are fully-featured applications similar to what’s running on existing cloud computing networks. They are full applications and not smart contracts.
Even though TApps don’t run directly on blockchain in the TEA Project, we still use blockchain as a key cog in our tech stack. We still let blockchain do what it does best, which is to reach a decentralized consensus. But we don’t depend on any layer1 blockchain to maintain the state of the apps running on TEA Project’s layer2. TEA instead uses GPS satellites to reach a consensus on the ordering of transactions and current state of all TApps running on TEA’s layer2.
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One of the most innovative features that TEA Project is bringing portability to cloud computing and blockchain. TEA Project was written in Substrate but doesn’t need to be deployed on Substrate-based blockchains like Polkadot. TEA is a layer2 compute layer that’s agnostic to the underlying layer1. In TEA’s Epoch 11, the dev team will introduce EVM-compatibility as TEA moves towards deploying on the Ethereum blockchain.
The Importance of TEA’s Layer2
We always stress that the TEA Project is made to run on blockchain but its compute layer isn’t a blockchain at all. There are a multitude of reasons for why the TEA Project was designed like this:
- TEA’s layer2 has no block size limitations and no TPS constraints. TEA has the same decentralization as blockchains without the usual scalability contraints that come with having to verify blocks.
- TApps are deployed to an architecture that looks similar to the 3-tier architecture that’s ubiquitous in cloud computing. This means that TApp developers don’t need to learn esoteric blockchain concepts just to build an app. They can simply use the tools they’re already using in the current cloud computing environment.
In all these ways, we hope the reader is beginning to see how TEA is not trying to improve existing blockchain consensus. It’s rather pioneering a new way to run full-speed cloud applications on top of existing blockchains.
How We Envision TEA’s Relation to Blockchain
It might be helpful for readers to think of TEA’s relation to our underlying layer1 blockchains similar to how certain computer apps relate to their underlying operating systems. For reference, here’s a graphical representation of how the TEA Project’s TApps sit relative to TEA’s layer2 and the various underlying layer1 chains:
If we look back through the annals of tech history, there was a time in the 1990s when there was a big operating system war brewing between Microsoft (Windows), IBM (OS/2), and Apple (MacOS). Microsoft ended up winning the biggest market share with IBM’s OS/2 disappearing completely. There were other operating systems to emerge, including graphically-oriented OS’s (BeOS and NEXTStep) and the various flavors of Unix culminating with the introduction of Linux as a free, open-source alternative to Microsoft Windows.
So who would come to challenge Microsoft’s supremacy in the world of personal computers wouldn’t become evident until the internet found its way into consumer homes. That gave the opportunity for an application that runs on top of the operating system — namely, the internet browser — to rise in popularity that it began to rival the utility of the operating system it ran upon.
A user can sync their Google Chrome profile from their PC to their laptop as well as to their iPad and mobile phone. They don’t really care what’s the underlying OS or hardware, they only care they can access the browser app. This is similar to how we envision the TEA Project unlocking the popularity of apps that are running in our layer2. Just as a user only cares to access the browser without caring what the underlying operating system is, our Web3 user will only care about accessing their favorite TApp without concern with what layer1 is acting as the underlying blockchain for it.
Simplifying Cross Chain Bridging
This layer1 agnosticism will also open up important applications for bridging assets from one chain to the other. Bridges are inherently open to hacks due to the way they must hold proxy tokens as they wait for assets to move across chains.
The TEA Project’s layer2 can effectively function as a cross chain bridge, where users can transfer assets between a layer1 blockchain to the TEA Project’s layer2 cloud computing layer. They would then be able to move their assets to a different TEA-compatible layer1 as long as the token also existed on that layer1 chain.