SDK Architecture

The Lisk SDK operates on the Node.js runtime and consists primarily of an application framework (Lisk Framework). It contains a collection of libraries providing blockchain application functionalities (Lisk Elements), and a powerful Command Line Interface (Lisk Commander), which allows developers to bootstrap and manage their Blockchain applications.


SDK components

Component Description

Lisk Framework

Lisk Framework is an application framework responsible for establishing and maintaining the interactions between the different components of a blockchain application.

Lisk Elements

Lisk Elements is a collection of libraries, each of them implements a certain type of blockchain application functionality such as cryptography, transactions, p2p, etc. Each library is designed to be compatible with The Lisk protocol.

Lisk Commander

Lisk Commander is a command line tool which provides various commands to simplify the development and management of blockchain applications. For example, it allows to bootstrap a complete blockchain application with just 1 command.


The framework architecture is constructed of three different layers of abstractions: Node, Modules and Plugins (see the architecture diagram of a blockchain application). The Application object encapsulates all together to provide a user-facing interface.

The Application class is the entry point to create a blockchain application. It can be instantiated in the following two ways:

//Initiates the Application including all SDK default modules
const app = Application.defaultApplication(genesisBlock, config);
//Initiates the Application without the SDK default modules
const app = new Application(genesisBlock, config);

genesisBlock represents the Genesis block and config represents the Configuration for the application.

Recommended: Use the default application
The recommended method to create an Application instance is to use the defaultApplication, as it comes with the SDK default modules. If the class constructor is used, all modules need to be registered manually.


The application config object is passed to the Application and must follow the configuration schema.

It is not necessary to include all options that are included in the schema. The application will use the default configuration options in case a config option is not specified.

More information about how to configure a blockchain application can be found in the guide Configuring a blockchain application and the Configuration reference.

Genesis block

The genesis block describes the very first block in the blockchain. It defines the initial state of the blockchain at the start of the network.

The genesis block is not forged by a delegate, such as all of the other blocks which come after the genesis block. Instead it is defined by the developer, when creating the Application instance of the blockchain application.

Check out the Generating a genesis block guide to learn how to create a valid genesis block.
Genesis block schema
const genesisBlock = {
  header: {
    generatorPublicKey: "",
    // height can be either 0 or regenesis height
    height: number,
    // empty buffer or merkle root of the previous blocks from previous network
    previousBlockID: Buffer,
    reward: 0n,
    signature: "",
    // timestamp of the blockchain in unix timestamp in second
    timestamp: number,
    // transactionRoot is alway empty hash
    transactionRoot: Buffer.from('e3b0c44298fc1c149afbf4c8996fb92427ae41e4649b934ca495991b7852b855', 'hex'),
    version: 0,
    asset: {
      // number of initial round to use the initDelegates
      initRounds: number,
      // address of initial delegates
      initDelegates: Buffer[],
      // encoded accounts for the initial state
      accounts: Buffer[],
  payload: [],

Life cycle of a block

If a node receives a new block, it always performs the following actions:

The colored steps are the steps exposed to the developer via the base module and base asset, see the Lisk Framework reference.

block lifecycle