Substrate-based chain

Uses WASM and Rust.


Follow our Polkadot GitHub repository to get started 🛠️

Rust Setup

First, complete the basic Rust setup instructions doc/


Use Rust's native cargo command to build and launch the node:
cargo run --release -- --dev --tmp
or use make alias


The cargo run command will perform an initial build. Use the following command to build the node without launching it:


The make tests command will launch comprehensive test suite.

Embedded docs

Once the project has been built, the following command can be used to explore all parameters and subcommands:
./target/release/node-template -h
To build and open a rust doc:
cargo doc --package <spec> --open
Replacing with one of the included pallets (i.e. cargo doc --package pallet-deip --open).


The provided cargo run command will launch a temporary node and its state will be discarded after you terminate the process. After the project has been built, there are other ways to launch the node.

Connect UI

There are 2 options:
  • Use a Substrate Front End Template. Follow the instructions in the repo
  • Use this link to open the Polkadot JS Apps UI and automatically configure the UI to connect to the local node


Single-node development chain

This command will start the single-node development chain with persistent state:
./target/release/node-template --dev
Purge the development chain's state:
./target/release/node-template purge-chain --dev
Start the development chain with detailed logging:
RUST_LOG=debug RUST_BACKTRACE=1 ./target/release/node-template -lruntime=debug --dev

Multi-node local testnet

If you want to see the multi-node consensus algorithm in action, refer to our Start a Private Network tutorial.

Template structure

A Substrate project such as this consists of a number of components that are spread across a few directories.


A blockchain node is an application that allows users to participate in a blockchain network. Substrate-based blockchain nodes expose a number of capabilities:
  • Networking: Substrate nodes use the libp2p networking stack to allow the nodes in the network to communicate with one another
  • Consensus: Blockchains must have a way to come to consensus on the state of the network; Substrate makes it possible to supply custom consensus engines and also ships with several consensus mechanisms that have been built on top of Web3 Foundation research
  • RPC Server: A remote procedure call (RPC) server is used to interact with Substrate nodes
There are several files in the node directory - take special note of the following:
  • A chain specification is a source code file that defines a Substrate chain's initial (genesis) state; chain specifications are useful for development and testing, and critical when architecting the launch of a production chain; take note of the development_config and testnet_genesis functions, which are used to define the genesis state for the local development chain configuration; these functions identify some well-known accounts and use them to configure the blockchain's initial state
  • This file defines the node implementation; take note of the libraries that this file imports and the names of the functions it invokes; in particular, there are references to consensus-related topics, such as the longest chain rule, the Aura block authoring mechanism and the GRANDPA finality gadget
After the node has been built, refer to the embedded documentation to learn more about the capabilities and configuration parameters that it exposes:
./target/release/node-template --help


In Substrate, the terms "runtime" and "state transition function" are analogous - they refer to the core logic of the blockchain that is responsible for validating blocks and executing the state changes they define. The Substrate project in this repository uses the FRAME framework to construct a blockchain runtime. FRAME allows runtime developers to declare domain-specific logic in modules called "pallets". At the heart of FRAME is a helpful macro language that makes it easy to create pallets and flexibly compose them to create blockchains that can address a variety of needs.
Review the FRAME runtime implementation included in this template and note the following:
  • This file configures several pallets to include in the runtime; each pallet configuration is defined by a code block that begins with impl $PALLET_NAME::Config for Runtime
  • The pallets are composed into a single runtime by way of the construct_runtime! macro, which is part of the core FRAME Support library


The runtime in this project is constructed using many FRAME pallets that ship with the core Substrate repository and a template pallet that is defined in the pallets directory.
A FRAME pallet is compromised of a number of blockchain primitives:
  • Storage: FRAME defines a rich set of powerful storage abstractions that makes it easy to use Substrate's efficient key-value database to manage the evolving state of a blockchain
  • Dispatchables: FRAME pallets define special types of functions that can be invoked (dispatched) from outside of the runtime in order to update its state
  • Events: Substrate uses events to notify users of important changes in the runtime
  • Errors: When a dispatchable fails, it returns an error
  • Config: The Config configuration interface is used to define the types and parameters upon which a FRAME pallet depends

Run in Docker

First, install Docker and Docker Compose.
Then run the following command to start a single node development chain.
This command will firstly compile your code, and then start a local development network. You can also replace the default command (cargo build --release && ./target/release/node-template --dev --ws-external) by appending your own. A few useful ones are as follow.
# Run Substrate node without re-compiling
./scripts/ ./target/release/node-template --dev --ws-external
# Purge the local dev chain
./scripts/ ./target/release/node-template purge-chain --dev
# Check whether the code is compilable
./scripts/ cargo check