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🔎 How it Works


With the Block SDK, blocks are broken up into smaller partial blocks called lanes.

  • Each lane has its own custom block building logic and stores distinct types of transactions.
  • Each lane can only consume a portion of the block as defined on the lane's configuration (MaxBlockSpace).
  • When a block proposal is requested, a block will fill with transactions from each lane, iteratively, in the order in which the lanes are defined in the application.
  • When a block proposal is processed, each lane will verify its portion of the block, iteratively, in the order in which the lanes are defined in the application.
  • Transactions in blocks MUST respect the ordering of lanes.

🔁 Background: Transaction Lifecycle

Knowledge of the general transaction lifecycle is important to understand how lanes work.

  • A transaction begins when it is signed and broadcasted to a node on a chain.
  • It will be then be verified by the application on the node.
  • If it is valid, it will be inserted into the node's mempool, which is a storage area for transactions before inclusion in a block.
  • If the node happens to be a validator, and is proposing a block, the application will call PrepareProposal to create a new block proposal.
  • The proposer will look at what transactions they have in their mempool, iteratively select transactions until the block is full, and share the proposal with other validators.
  • When a different validator receives a proposal, the validator will verify its contents via ProcessProposal before signing it.
  • If the proposal is valid, the validator will sign the proposal and broadcast their vote to the network.
  • If the block is invalid, the validator will reject the proposal.
  • Once a proposal is accepted by the network, it is committed as a block and the transactions that were included are removed from every validator's mempool.

🛣️ Lane Lifecycle

Lanes introduce new steps in the transaction lifecycle outlined above.

A LanedMempool is composed of several distinct lanes that store their own transactions. The LanedMempool will insert the transaction into all lanes that accept it

  • After the base application accepts a transaction, the transaction will be checked to see if it can go into any lanes, as defined by the lane's MatchHandler.
  • Lane's can be configured to only accept transactions that match a certain criteria. For example, a lane could be configured to only accept transactions that are staking related (such as a free-transaction lane).
  • When a new block is proposed, the PrepareProposalHandler of the application will iteratively call PrepareLane on each lane (in the order in which they are defined in the application). The PrepareLane method is similar to PrepareProposal.
  • Calling PrepareLane on a lane will trigger the lane to reap transactions from its mempool and add them to the proposal (if they respect the verification rules of the lane).
  • When proposals are verified in ProcessProposal by other validators, the ProcessProposalHandler defined in abci/abci.go will call ProcessLane on each lane in the same order as they were called in the PrepareProposalHandler.
  • Each subsequent call to ProcessLane will filter out transactions that belong to previous lanes. A given lane's ProcessLane will only verify transactions that belong to that lane.

Let's say we have a LanedMempool composed of two lanes: LaneA and LaneB.

LaneA is defined first in the LanedMempool and LaneB is defined second.

LaneA contains transactions Tx1 and Tx2 and LaneB contains transactions Tx3 and Tx4.

When a new block needs to be proposed, the PrepareProposalHandler will call PrepareLane on LaneA first and LaneB second.

When PrepareLane is called on LaneA, LaneA will reap transactions from its mempool and add them to the proposal. The same applies for LaneB. Say LaneA reaps transactions Tx1 and Tx2 and LaneB reaps transactions Tx3 and Tx4. This gives us a proposal composed of the following:

  • Tx1, Tx2, Tx3, Tx4

When the ProcessProposalHandler is called, it will call ProcessLane on LaneA with the proposal composed of Tx1, Tx2, Tx3, and Tx4. LaneA will then verify Tx1 and Tx2 and return the remaining transactions - Tx3 and Tx4. The ProcessProposalHandler will then call ProcessLane on LaneB with the remaining transactions - Tx3 and Tx4. LaneB will then verify Tx3 and Tx4 and return no remaining transactions.