Chromia Explained: Chromia’s Modular Framework

Chromia Explained: Chromia’s Modular Framework

Modularity has become a hot topic in the crypto space. You may have heard of it in the context of Celestia, a Layer-2 Rollup, Chromia, or maybe it just makes you think about Ikea furniture.

As we will see in this article, the term ‘modular’ can mean many different things in the context of blockchain. This arises because modular means “a method that separates a process into a number of smaller parts”.

So, any tech stack that has multiple pieces working together is modular. This is why Optimism, Celestia, and several other EVM projects are considered modular. It is also why Cosmos and Polkadot can be considered modular. It’s also why we say Chromia has a modular framework

All of these things are modular, but it doesn’t mean they are the same. Let’s explore.

Monolithic Chains

It may be easier to discuss this topic by starting with chains that are not modular. These chains are called ‘monolithic’ because everything happens on a single chain.

Popular examples include Bitcoin, Solana, and Ethereum’s base layer. When researching this topic, you will typically find a list of jobs that a blockchain does, such as execution, settlement, data availability, and consensus. 

What do these terms mean?

  • Execution - Processing transactions and state changes (i.e., token transfers, smart contract interactions).
  • Settlement - Providing finality and security. 
  • Data Availability - Storing block data and making it available to network participants.
  • Consensus - Defining the rules that nodes use to agree on the true state of the blockchain. 

On monolithic chains, all of these jobs happen on the same layer. On Bitcoin (assuming you are not using Lightning Network), transactions are submitted on the base layer, settlement occurs on the base layer, every node in the network must store entire blocks before the data can be read, and all miners follow the same consensus rules that determine the true state of the chain.

A monolithic model has some advantages, namely simplicity and security. However, this model also has disadvantages, primarily based on speed and cost. For example, Ethereum’s base layer is very secure but has limited throughput, only processing about 20-30 transactions per second. Block space is expensive, and storing the entire chain state requires high bandwidth and a lot of storage space. Also, it takes time for new block data to propagate across all of the nodes on the network.

To address these challenges, several Layer-2s emerged, which offloaded execution to separate blockchains. Examples of this include Optimism and Arbitrum. The idea is pretty straightforward: a bunch of transactions occur on a Layer-2 chain and get bundled together (rolled up) and written into a single Ethereum block. This allows users to complete transactions faster and cheaper than on Ethereum.

In this configuration, you can already see modularity emerging. Two components are working together.

Celestia and Data Availability

So, can you offload more jobs to other chains? It turns out that you can. A project that has risen to prominence over the last few months is Celestia, a project that (primarily) specializes in data availability.

In brief, the size of the Ethereum blockchain Ethereum’s size and cost makes data availability a challenge. Blocks need to propagate across the entire network; they are large and expensive to store.

Celestia addresses this by using data availability sampling, which makes it possible to run nodes that can provide valid data without storing entire blocks. The end result is that Layer-2s can get the data they need to operate correctly in a more scalable way. 

It should be noted that this is a very basic explanation. There are several other EVM modular projects and several other possible stack configurations. The goal here is to get the basic idea of where the term ‘modular’ comes from. As more chains and protocols are added to address a bottleneck or provide some new feature that did not exist before, the once monolithic stack gets split into smaller parts, each doing a specific job.

And Now For Something Completely Different…

Chromia utilizes a modular framework and is distinct from many other platforms because it was designed to use an interconnected network of specialized chains from its inception.

Our founders demonstrated remarkable foresight by prioritizing modularity from the beginning. Rather than merely reacting to bottlenecks or the necessity for new features, Chromia was engineered to sidestep such challenges while facilitating the integration of new base layer features in the future.

This proactive approach distinguishes Chromia as a platform that doesn't merely respond but anticipates. It underscores our dedication to crafting a resilient and forward-looking ecosystem that prioritizes innovation and longevity.

Advantages of Chromia’s Modular Framework


In a monolithic system, every transaction and smart contract interaction happens on a single chain. This means that if a single dapp attracts huge traffic, the entire chain becomes slower and more expensive to use. Chromia’s solution to this problem is to place each dapp and system process on its own chain, and group them into clusters. 

On Chromia, resource containers are leased by paying network providers, and dapp chains are launched within these containers. When a dapp needs more resources, it can secure them by leasing more. This allows each dapp to scale horizontally, without adversely affecting the network's speed or the transaction costs observed by end users.

Data Efficiency

Since a subset of nodes is assigned to each cluster, nodes do not need to store the data associated with every cluster and every dapp. This distributes block storage responsibilities across the network, making data retrieval faster and more efficient.

Layered Consensus

When actions are carried out in a specific dapp, the provider nodes assigned to that dapp use Chromia’s consensus mechanism to commit these actions to a block. The headers of these blocks are then committed to the cluster anchoring chain in which the dapp exists. In turn, the headers of these blocks are then committed to the system anchoring chain. The system chain offers a unified view of the network's state, aiding in detecting and resolving consensus disputes in higher layers. When disputes do not arise, there is no need to cross-reference all layers, making consensus faster and more efficient. 

Dapp Customizability

On Chromia, each dapp can pick and choose which utilities and protocols it wants to incorporate. One dapp may choose to deploy and use an instance of Filehub in its cluster, another may choose to use the FT4 token library, while another dapp may choose to use ICMF and ICCF to communicate with dapps in other clusters. The key point here is that if a dapp doesn’t need these features, it can exist without adding these libraries and calling these functions. This makes each dapp its own modular unit that chooses its stack configuration. Another benefit of dapps running on their own chains is that they can be updated individually without affecting the rest of the network, and even other dapps within their cluster. 

System Chain Specialization

Because Chromia uses individual system chains to carry out processes needed for the network’s core functionality and maintenance, these chains can be optimized to perform specific tasks. For example, the Directory Chain is designed to efficiently store chain configurations, track which nodes are responsible for which chains, and synchronize the network. The Economy Chain is designed to provide a root chain for native CHR and organize the payment of container leasers. Anchoring Chains are designed to store block headers and work together to maintain consensus across the network.


While monolithic chains like Bitcoin and Ethereum's base layer have provided simplicity and security, they face challenges related to speed and cost. Layer-2 solutions have emerged to offload various processes to separate chains, creating modular stacks that work together to improve performance.

In contrast to this, Chromia is a standalone platform that uses a modular framework. Chromia is an interconnected network of specialized chains designed to avoid bottlenecks and accommodate new features. By placing each dapp and system process on its own chain and grouping them into clusters, our network offers parallel scaling, near-instant finality, and consistent transaction costs.

Layered consensus mechanisms streamline decision-making processes, ensuring fast and efficient agreement on network states. Additionally, dapp composability empowers developers to customize their stack configurations, picking and choosing utilities and protocols as needed. Furthermore, Chromia's specialization of system chains allows for optimized performance in specific tasks.

By embracing modularity from the ground up, Chromia delivers innovations that will streamline the end-user experience and facilitate new Web3 business models.

About Chromia

Chromia is a Layer-1 relational blockchain platform that uses a modular framework to empower users and developers with dedicated dapp chains, customizable fee structures, and enhanced digital assets. By fundamentally changing how information is structured on the blockchain, Chromia provides natively queryable data indexed in real-time, challenging the status quo to deliver innovations that will streamline the end-user experience and facilitate new Web3 business models.

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