Technical deep dive into AELF project and ecosystem

By Ruma | Blockchains Projects | 14 May 2020

About aelf

aelf is a Decentralized Cloud Computing Blockchain Network. The aelf system aims to provide a highly specialized and efficient Blockchain architecture that allows the developers to customize chains to support desirable commercial requirements for various industries. The system also supports the feature of "Chain splits" to satisfy future demands.


aelf Eco-system development

The three main dimensions of aelf eco-system are as follows:

  • Technology
  • Business
  • Capital.


  • Technology

The aelf team has proposed aelf technical solution that intends to resolve the most pressing obstacles for commercial adoption of Blockchain, such as scalability, security, customization, and interoperability. It provides a highly efficient infrastructure to adopt new protocols and support all kinds of commercial scenarios in the future.

  • Business applications

AELF Business Applications

  • Financial services

Multiple chains can be developed on aelf specifically for financial services, including cross-border payments, trade finance, and supply chain financing. The parallel processing feature is capable of handling business transactions on an international scale, and the inter-chain communication feature allows smooth coordination from asset registration, account management, and real-time transaction.

  • Insurance

A dedicated aelf side chain for insurance will integrate various DAPPs and will encompass everything from user identity, insurance contract execution, and claim handling.

  • Digital identity and Ips

aelf’s multi-chain structure has a built-in chain for digital identity. Within aelf, digital identity can be used by other side Chains via “messaging”. Using the adaptor, aelf is also capable of retrieving information and data from other established chains, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

  • Smart City

Governments would be able to use aelf to securely and conveniently run certain administrative tasks. Governments or organizations can customize the consensus protocol to meet national security requirements. Activities, such as utility recording, citizen identities, government agency information disclosure, and polling can be realized on aelf with great transparency and efficiency. A few countries are experimenting in this field, including Estonia, Singapore, and China.

  • Internet of Things

aelf supports light node and cloud service, which reduces the computational requirement for connected devices while maintaining high performance. This is critical to managing billions of devices and enables micro-payments across them to link the Internet of Things.

  • Interoperate with existing DAPPs on existing chains

aelf will leverage its interoperability feature to connect with existing DAPPs to allow asset exchange and capture the transaction data coming from those DAPPs.

  • Nurture new start-ups ideas

The development team and their advisors are deeply involved in new idea formation and commercialization in the global Blockchain community. The company also provides technical and commercial advisory services to new startups.

  • Transform established companies to “Blockchain savvy”

The aelf team has been in discussion with Internet companies and traditional corporates on the disruptive business model on aelf. Also, the team intends to collaborate with global strategy consulting firms to push the boundary of next-generation business models on aelf eco-system.

  • Capital

The company raised funds through its Token sale. They (the team and its advisors) also have established strong alliances with leading crypto funds globally. This international capital network and reputation ensure a strong financing capability.


Key objectives of aelf

  • A Highly Customizable OS for Commercial Use

The aelf design is logically based on kernel and shell architecture. This architecture gives power to the users either they can use the complete Blockchain OS or develop a customized OS  by redefining the Core through interfaces.

  • Cross-Chain Interaction

aelf can interact with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other Blockchain systems through messaging. It also supports multi-level cross-chain structure based on cross-chain interaction to share digital assets, users, and information.

  • Performance Improvement

To deliver optimal performance, the Chain provides an effective and customized data structure, Smart Contract logic, and a Consensus Protocol that can be designed specifically for the targeted objective. This makes the Chain much simpler and easier to manage.

  • Protocol Update

To avoid a dispute over Protocol update, the voting and update mechanism needs to be clearly defined upon the Genesis of Blockchain.

  • Private Chain Module

It enables the users to rapidly create an independent Chain using their Private Chain module which will provide them full ownership without any connection to the external eco-system or other businesses.


aelf System Architecture

The aelf system consists of

  • One Main Chain.
  • Multiple Side Chains attached to the Main Chain.

aelf Architecture

Main Chain

aelf Main Chain is a Blockchain which is run and controlled by the aelf Operating System. This is the primary component of the entire architecture.

The Main Chain consists of

  • Side Chain index system
  • Token system
  • DPoS Consensus Protocol


  • Side Chain index system

It connects all Chains within the aelf ecosystem. This includes

  • External Chains of high importance which can be used to expand the boundary of aelf, e.g. Bitcoin, Ethereum
  • Internal Side Chains operating under aelf OS, which contributes economically to the aelf system and use the aelf Token

Side Chain indexing works in the following steps:

  • Nodes of the Main Chain read information from Side Chains and form a Merkle Tree
  • The header of the new Block records the Merkle Tree Root.

Frequent indexing can increase the chance of a fork which creates Orphaned Blocks. Sometimes indexing Orphaned Blocks can deteriorate system effort. Therefore, different indexing strategy is suggested for each Side Chain based on its own, unique characteristics, and this can be defined in the system.

The main functions of aelf (termed as Genesis Smart Contract Collection) are defined by the Smart Contract Collection that was set up during the Genesis. It defines the main functions, the Consensus Protocol of the chain, and the update mechanism of the collection.

  • aelf Token System

aelf token incentivizes honest behavior in the system. All aelf Side Chains accept the aelf Token as storage of value and a means of value transfer. It can be transferred across any Chains that accept the aelf Token. When a Side Chain applies to be indexed by the Main Chain, it receives some locked-in Tokens from the Main Chain. When the Side Chain receives transaction fees, it partially shares them with miners of the Main Chain. When the Main Chain finds indexing a Side Chain is economically unfavorable, the Main Chain has the right to terminate indexing.

There are three types of token:

  • ELF token- The main token on the aelf platform, used for transaction fees, side-chain index fees, production nodes deposits, voting, and block rewards.
  • Resource tokens (CPU resources, RAM resources, DISK resources, NET resources, READ resources, WRITE resources, STORAGE resources, TRAFFIC resources)- This token is used by developers to pay for the consumption of resources when an application is running. Developers need to ensure that there are sufficient resource tokens for their application’s normal requirements. Resource tokens can be purchased with and sold for ELF tokens.
  • Tokens created by developers- On the aelf platform, developers can create tokens and build their token models and incentive mechanisms.
  • Consensus Protocol

aelf Main Chain uses DPoS to ensure high frequency and predictability of Block formation. In the aelf system, the Consensus Protocol on each Chain can be customized to achieve specific objectives.            `

Multiple Side Chains (One Chain One Contract system)

Aelf system consists of multiple side-chains which are attached to the Main Chain.

  • System Built-in aelf Side Chains:
    aelf Node Topology consists of an interlinking P2P network between full nodes of the Main Chain, light nodes, and nodes of Side Chains where
  • Non-mining nodes - Light Nodes
  • Ledger nodes- full nodes.

Some important features provided by the Sidechains includes:-

Full Node

  • It supports both online and offline Information Registration and Authentication functions in e-commerce business.
  • It can be used to store digital assets and wallet ownership information.
  • To facilitate asset initiation (First Coin Sales). Once the distribution has been completed, assets will be moved to the Digital asset ownership Side Chain.
  • Side Chain can function as an Exchange. It enables KYC, asset transfer, order placement/ withdrawal, and execution.
  • Flexible: These side chains interact with each other via the Main Chain in the form of Merkle tree verification through external information input. Since these Side Chains do not interact directly, hence it makes the system flexible to add or remove the Side Chains from the aelf system.
  • Powerful: Each Chain is dedicated to one type of transaction and resolves one type of business problem. This idea makes the entire architecture along with data more simple and aligned to particular commercial requirements. The capability to add new Side Chains to aelf system is what makes the system more powerful to cater to future demands with an "easy to manage" structure.

One chain

  • Speed and scalability: These Side Chains can be further extended to connect with few sub Chains, acting as a "Main Chain" in one part of the system. Thus forming a branch structure that allows the aelf system to extend both horizontally and vertically. This idea is similar to that of partitioning and sharding in database architecture. It allows each shard to perform specific functions, and when one shard becomes too large to manage, it can be further broken down into multiple shards.

Merkle Tree

When the aelf OS creates a side chain, it is desirable that the side chain set up their Consensus Protocols and merge mining activity with the Main Chain. The Side Chains also holds a certain amount of aelf Tokens and share transaction fees partially with the Main Chain. Block header information of the aelf Main Chain is required to include whenever one side chain wishes to verify details from another side chain and the verification is done through the Merkle Tree Root provided by the Main Chain.


Smart Contract in aelf system

  • The aelf Operating System defines Smart Contracts as Protocols. Smart Contracts are defined as micro-service in aelf. This makes Smart Contracts independent of specific programming languages. aelf Kernel extends parallel processing to a cloud, thus enabling cloud-based contract execution.
  • The functions of aelf are defined by the Smart Contract Collection. Therefore, updating the collection impacts the functions of the whole Chain. The update mechanism of the collection is defined by the previous collection. For example, if an 80% majority votes for a new Smart Contract Collection in the most recent 100th Block, it is confirmed by the consequent 2000 Blocks, and a new collection will replace the original one. Nodes that do not update the collection will have their work terminated.


Optional Modules

  • Data Cleansing Mechanism

The aelf system supports data cleansing mechanism for the historical data if the data became too huge to record. The system mainly focuses on processing new data. This cleansing activity does not impose any constraints on the decisions of people in the present.

  • Data Tunnel

The data tunnel is a mechanism to execute encrypted P2P data transfer. This design aims to enable data transfer between two nodes directly as oppose to traditional Blockchain systems, where the transactions are broadcasted so that all nodes need to process the transaction.

  • Rapid Confirmation Model

aelf support rapid transaction confirmation for certain types of transactions where the sender has authorized the recipient before making the transaction. The transactions will be done between assigned addresses through a data tunnel and are valid for a certain period.

  • Token Module

The aelf system supports the token module where aelf token is granted to the Side Chain which is recognized by the aelf Operation System. The Token module contains all logics and algorithms for the value carrier (Token). It specifically serves scenarios such as payments for resource allocation, or rewards for maintaining the stability of aelf.

  • Customization

aelf system can be customized to support commercial business requirements by adding side chains to the aelf Operation System.

Token Economics

  • Total ELF issuance: 1 billion
  • Mining ratio: 120 million tokens (12%)
  • Block Reward Release plan: halved every four years
  • Total supply of ELF and resource tokens is fixed
  • Total resource tokens issuance: 500 million each CPU resources tokens, RAM resources tokens, DISK resources tokens, NET resources tokens, READ resources tokens, WRITE resources tokens, STORAGE resources tokens, and TRAFFIC resources tokens.

Official Forums













Aelf is a multipurpose super flexible blockchain. It has been building for quite some time now and has a complex but very effective architecture. This architecture helps aelf in adjusting the scalability parameters as per the requirement of a user. This enables aelf to boast itself as an industry-grade blockchain ready to be used by businesses.

Note: Do your research before investing in any project.

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Blockchain researcher and content writer | Voice|| | [email protected] | Twitter: @rumadas123 | Telegram: @RumaDas

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