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What Is Network
A brief overview of blockchain networks and a list of supported networks where Zenland contracts can be deployed (published).
- A network is a group of nodes that share a distributed database of records, a.k.a. the blockchain.
- A database is called distributed when multiple nodes (computers) have a copy of transaction records.
- Shared copies of records ensure that no node (computer) could secretly change or add new data.
- It also prevents a single node from gaining more decision power to become a central authority.
- The network of nodes is commonly referred to as a "blockchain network", or simply, "a blockchain".
- The nodes use different network protocols, the rules/procedures controlling various operations.
- The way a new transaction (a record) is added to the blockchain is known as the Consensus protocol.
- Its goal is to prevent hackers from cheating the system and changing transaction records.
- Network users pay gas fees to cover the operational cost of nodes verifying their transactions.
- The gas fees vary depending on network congestion and the complexity of the transaction.
In the context of smart contracts, the network refers to a number of nodes, or groups of nodes, in the blockchain. A blockchain is a distributed database of all transaction records happening within its network.
The nodes are individual computers that do blockchain operations to get a reward. Besides storing data and smart contracts, nodes also process (approve) all blockchain transactions.
The approval process may differ from one blockchain network to another. Yet it is always guided by a certain procedure known as the Consensus protocol.
Different networks use different Consensus protocols.
Proof-of-work (PoW) and Proof-of-stake (PoS) are two of the most common Consensus protocols.
The main idea behind such a protocol is that each node votes for or against a certain transaction. Based on the majority of votes, the transaction is approved and added to the blockchain records.
Nodes participating in the approval process are rewarded with the native currency of the blockchain.
How does the network keep track of thousands of transactions per second?
The blockchain network handles adding, sharing, and storing transactional data a.k.a. the transaction history. As with any history of user actions, all transactions will have a unique encrypted ID known as transaction ID and a digital timestamp.
The new records are encrypted, added to the new block, and then placed into the blockchain. Every new block will carry transactional data, the code of the previous block, and its own unique code.
This unique code is called hash and is like a digital fingerprint.
Encrypting the data, timestamping transactions, and giving each block a specific code (hash) is how a blockchain keeps data safe. That said, the data shared between the users is encrypted and anonymous and cannot be read by people, but is not hidden.
Blockchain transactions, including operations with Zenland contracts, can be verified via blockchain explorers. An explorer plays the role of a web browser or a search engine that shows transaction details. It is often blockchain-specific and can only show the transactions within its own blockchain network. Etherscan and Blockchain.com are the best-known Ethereum and Bitcoin explorers.
Some blockchain networks have established communication with other networks via cross-chains, decentralized applications (dApps), and network protocols. If you want to explore more, below is a list of suggested resources.
What is a gas fee and why does it exist?
There are gas fees for every network transaction or a smart contract call that changes the state of the blockchain and/or the contract. Users pay gas fees, or transaction fees, in gwei. The amount of gwei paid in one network may vary from another one.
Ethereum explains a gas fee as a measure "to prevent bad actors from spamming the network". In other words, setting up a fee for all operations in the network allows Ethereum to detect false requests. Such requests could be sent by hackers to slow the speed of all network transactions.
Thus, a gas fee generally depends on the congestion of a particular network. As a rule, the more transactions have to be processed and stored, the higher the fees of the network should be. Though not recommended, the user may offer a lower fee accepting its outcome.
If user A offers a low gas fee, the node may ignore it in favor of user B who is paying a higher fee. If the fee is much lower than the standard fee, it may take some time before it is processed.
- Ethereum Mainnet,
- Binance Smart Chain (also known as BNB Chain),
- Avalanche network,
- Fantom network,
- Polygon network.