Distributed Service Network

A Distributed Service Network, exemplified by TheGraph, consists of nodes that deliver web services. Smart Layer extends this concept by incorporating an execution component (akin to AWS Lambda), forging read/write connections to blockchain and token issuer systems, and incentivizing service level agreements with tokens.

Smart Layer is designed to operate as a Distributed Service Network, but it differs significantly from a typical blockchain system.

Unlike a blockchain, Smart Layer does not use tokens to incentivize nodes to provide services, such as answering token API calls. Instead, it relies on existing blockchain systems, like Ethereum, to enforce rule-based transactions. Therefore, Smart Layer is more of a blockchain application than a blockchain itself.

This design choice means that Smart Layer cannot operate without an existing, secure blockchain system. The creators of Smart Layer believe that we don't need a new blockchain to solve the limitations of Web 2.0 and enable limitless integration, address novel use-cases. Instead, what's needed is a layer on top of the blockchain that serves as an integration bus between the web and the blockchain.

Here's a comparison table that outlines the differences between Smart Layer and a typical blockchain:


Smart Layer

Typical Blockchain

System Type

Distributed Service Network

Decentralized Ledger

Token Use

Tokens incentivize nodes to provide web services. These are paid by integrations (use-cases).

Tokens incentivize nodes to secure the ledger transactions. These are paid by transaction senders.

Consensus Layer

Not present



Depends on existing blockchain systems



Provide web services just like Google APIs, but not centralised. To the underlying blockchain, it's a blockchain application.

Acts as a blockchain itself


Two types: elected anchoring nodes (not anonymous) and anonymous service nodes with varying service level objectives.

Anonymous nodes, often designed to be equal.


Acts as a bridge between the web and blockchain, enabling various use-cases

Allows direct interaction with applications, primarily for digital asset ownership

Blockchain Footprint

Uses commitments, which summarize critical token operations within a block time. These are written by a bridge contract.

Uses blocks, which contain a sum of transactions within a block time.

Block Creation

No blocks are created. Periodic commitments are written by the on-duty anchoring nodes into the bridge contract storage.

Blockchain nodes create blocks, but do not write to any contracts.

And here's a comparison table between Smart Layer and TheGraph


Smart Layer


System Type

Distributed Service Network

Distributed Service Network

Execution Component

Present (similar to AWS Lambda)


Blockchain Connection

Read/Write connections to blockchain and token issuer systems

Read-only connection to blockchain

Incentive Mechanism

Service level agreements incentivized by tokens

Query fees incentivized by tokens

Service Nodes

Two types: anchoring nodes (elected, not anonymous) and service nodes (anonymous, can pledge to different service level objectives)

Indexers (stake tokens to provide services)

Data Processing

Can process and execute code, embeds encryption logic for token privacy

Can process and serve data, but cannot execute code. Doesn't encrypt data


Key token operations results in commitments to its underlying blockchain. API responses carry proof linking to the commitments.

Query responses are trusted based on the reputation of the indexer. Complex cross-referenced queries are not inherently verifiable.