There is a lot of discussion about the ideal blockchain for developers and decentralised app builders. As block space on Ethereum becomes more sought after and Cosmos finalises its interchain security, the benefits of application-specific blockchains are gaining traction.
Appchains, or application-specific blockchains, are designed for one specific application rather than a basis upon which multiple applications can be built. These specific chains dedicate their block space to one application and enable dApp developers to build with more freedom and customisability through multiple layers of their stack. This could be in the form of permissions, security, or token models. Since appchains have dedicated computation and storage, the dApps built on them are noted for their improved performance and usability.
Without competing for space, developers have more freedom to make changes and upgrades that dApps built to Layer 1 mainnets might struggle with. An example of an appchain ecosystem would be the Cosmos SDK. Originally created in 2016, the “internet of blockchains” envisioned an ecosystem of appchains as the best way forward for blockchain development. Despite the early start, development on these chains has been slow – with 2021 seeing the whitepaper for the next phase of Cosmos development. This speaks to the still novel development of this kind of dApp development.