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Cartesi Rollups Examples

This repository includes examples of decentralized applications implemented using Cartesi Rollups.

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From a developer’s point of view, each decentralized application or DApp is composed of two main parts: a front-end and a back-end.

The front-end corresponds to the user-facing interface, which for these examples will correspond to a command-line console application.

On the other hand, the back-end contains the business logic of the application, similar to what traditional systems would run inside a server. Its basic goal is to store and update the application state as user input is received, producing corresponding outputs. These outputs can come in the form of vouchers (transactions that can be carried out on layer-1, such as a transfer of assets) and notices (informational statements that can be verified on layer-1, such as the resulting score of a game). In addition to that, the back-end can also issue reports, which correspond to general information that does not need to be verifiable by third-parties, such as application logs.

When compared to traditional software development, the main difference of a Cartesi DApp is that the back-end is deployed to a decentralized network of layer-2 nodes, who continuously verify the correctness of all processing results. As a consequence, the front-end and back-end do not communicate directly with each other. Rather, the front-end sends inputs to the Cartesi Rollups framework, who in turn makes them available to the back-end instances running inside each node. After the inputs are processed by the back-end logic, the corresponding outputs are then informed back to the Rollups framework, which enforces their correctness and makes them available to the front-end and any other interested parties.


As discussed above, the front-end and back-end parts of a Cartesi DApp communicate with each other through the Rollups framework. This is accomplished in practice by using a set of HTTP interfaces, which are specified in Cartesi's OpenAPI Interfaces repository.


The DApp's back-end interacts with the Cartesi Rollups framework by retrieving processing requests and then submitting corresponding outputs.


The front-end part of the DApp needs to access the Cartesi Rollups framework to submit user inputs and retrieve the corresponding vouchers, notices and reports produced by the back-end. As mentioned before, it is possible to interact with all the examples in this repository through the minimalistic and general-purpose frontend-console application.


Docker version 20.10.14 with Docker Buildkit enabled is required for building the environment and executing the examples. We recommend using Docker Desktop, which already enables Buildkit by default. Alternatively, an environment variable with value DOCKER_BUILDKIT=1 can also be set.

The below instructions have been tested in systems running both Linux (Ubuntu), MacOS, and Windows (using WSL, which is highly recommended for Windows users).


To run the examples, first clone the repository as follows:

git clone

Then, for each example, build the required docker images:

cd <example>
docker buildx bake --load

This will also build the example's Cartesi Machine containing the DApp's back-end logic.


Each application can be executed in Production and Host modes, as explained below.

Production mode

In this mode, the DApp's back-end logic is executed inside a Cartesi Machine, meaning that its code is compiled to the machine's RISC-V architecture. This ensures that the computation performed by the back-end is reproducible and hence verifiable, enabling a truly trustless and decentralized execution.

After building an example as described in the previous section, you can run it in production mode by executing:

cd <example>
docker compose -f ../docker-compose.yml -f ./docker-compose.override.yml up

Allow some time for the infrastructure to be ready. How much will depend on your system, but eventually the container logs will only show the continuous production of empty blocks in the local blockchain, as displayed below:

rollups-examples-hardhat-1                      | Mined empty block range #32 to #33
rollups-examples-hardhat-1                      | Mined empty block range #32 to #34
rollups-examples-hardhat-1                      | Mined empty block range #32 to #35
rollups-examples-hardhat-1                      | Mined empty block range #32 to #36

The environment can be shut down with the following command:

docker compose -f ../docker-compose.yml -f ./docker-compose.override.yml down -v

Host mode

The Cartesi Rollups Host Environment provides the very same HTTP API as the regular one, mimicking the behavior of the actual layer-1 and layer-2 components. This way, the Cartesi Rollups infrastructure can make HTTP requests to a back-end that is running natively on localhost. This allows the developer to test and debug the back-end logic using familiar tools, such as an IDE.

The host environment can be executed with the following command:

docker compose -f ../docker-compose.yml -f ./docker-compose.override.yml -f ../docker-compose-host.yml up

Note: In production mode, rejected inputs are guaranteed to have no effect on the back-end, since in that case the Cartesi Machine is completely rolled back to its previous state. However, in host mode there is no such guarantee and it is possible for changes to persist, for instance if the DApp allows an invalid input to change a global variable or produce a database write before it is rejected.

Note: When running in host mode, localhost port 5004 will be used by default to allow the DApp's back-end to communicate with the Cartesi Rollups framework.

Logging configuration

Whether in production mode or in host mode, it is possible to configure the level of logging information printed by the environment components. The main docker-compose.yml file specifies the environment services and their configurations, and these include environment variables that can be used to control the level of logging detail for each service.

For most services, the variable RUST_LOG defines the log level. The possible values for it are the following: trace, debug, info, warn, and error.

In production mode, the server_manager service has two different variables to control logging levels. SERVER_MANAGER_LOG_LEVEL controls the level of detail for the service itself, while REMOTE_CARTESI_MACHINE_LOG_LEVEL controls it for the Cartesi Machine in which the back-end is executing. The possible values for these variables are slightly different: trace, debug, info, warning, error, and fatal. Note that these definitions do not affect the output printed by the back-end code itself, which has independent control of its logging level.

Interactive console

It is possible to start an interactive console for the Cartesi Machine containing the application's back-end logic. This allows you to experiment with the back-end's software stacks within its production environment, allowing you to evaluate performance and explore the most adequate technology choices for its implementation.

After the Building step above is executed, a corresponding console Docker image is made available for that purpose. To run it and start your interactive console, type the following command:

docker run --rm -it cartesi/dapp:<example>-devel-console

The example's specific resources can generally be found within the /mnt/dapp directory.

To run the console as the root user, type the following command:

docker run --rm -it cartesi/dapp:<example>-devel-console --run-as-root

Advancing time

When executing an example, it is possible to advance time in order to simulate the passing of epochs. To do that, run:

curl --data '{"id":1337,"jsonrpc":"2.0","method":"evm_increaseTime","params":[864010]}' http://localhost:8545


Deploying a new Cartesi DApp to a blockchain requires creating a smart contract on that network, as well as running a validator node for the DApp.

Building machine to deploy

The first step is to build the DApp's back-end machine, which will produce a hash that serves as a unique identifier.

Make sure to inform for which network (defaults to localhost) the back-end machine is going to be built by overriding build argument *.args.NETWORK.

For example, to build a machine to be deployed to Sepolia, proceed as follows:

cd <example>
docker buildx bake machine --load --set *.args.NETWORK=sepolia

Deploying DApp contract

Once the machine docker image is ready, we can use it to deploy a corresponding Rollups smart contract.

In order to do that, you will need to provide an account with some funds for submitting transactions. The account is often specified by providing a mnemonic string, and optionally an account index to use from that mnemonic. For testnets such as Sepolia, it is usually possible to get free testnet funds by using token faucets. But do keep in mind that individual faucets are kept by third-parties, are not guaranteed to be functioning at all times, and may be discontinued.

Aside from the account to use, submitting transactions also requires you to provide the URL of an appropriate RPC gateway node for the target network. There are many options for that, and several services provide private nodes with free tiers that are more than enough for running these examples. Some options include Alchemy, Infura and Moralis.

You can specify the account and RPC gateway to use by defining the following environment variables:

export MNEMONIC=<user sequence of twelve words>
export RPC_URL=<https://your.rpc.gateway>

For example, to configure deployment to the Sepolia testnet using an Alchemy RPC node, you could execute:

export MNEMONIC=<user sequence of twelve words>

With that in place, you can submit a deploy transaction to the Cartesi DApp Factory contract on the target network by executing the following command:

DAPP_NAME=<example> docker compose --env-file ../env.<network> -f ../deploy-testnet.yml up

Here, env.<network> specifies general parameters for the target network, like its name and chain ID. In the case of Sepolia, the command would be:

DAPP_NAME=<example> docker compose --env-file ../env.sepolia -f ../deploy-testnet.yml up

This will create a file at ../deployments/<network>/<example>.json with the deployed contract's address. Once the command finishes, it is advisable to stop the docker compose and remove the volumes created when executing it.

DAPP_NAME=<example> docker compose --env-file ../env.<network> -f ../deploy-testnet.yml down -v

Running a validator node

With the DApp's smart contract deployed to the target network, a corresponding Cartesi Validator Node must also be instantiated to interact with it and handle the back-end logic of the DApp.

Aside from the environment variables defined before, the node will also need a secure websocket endpoint for the RPC gateway (WSS URL).

For example, for Sepolia and Alchemy, you would set the following additional variable:

export WSS_URL=wss://<USER_KEY>

Before running the Validator Node, a Cartesi Server Manager must be built specifying the network being used.

For example, to build such a server for the Sepolia network, execute the following command:

docker buildx bake server --load --set *.args.NETWORK=sepolia

Then, the node itself can be started by running a docker compose as follows:

DAPP_NAME=<example> docker compose --env-file ../env.<network> -f ../docker-compose-testnet.yml -f ./docker-compose.override.yml up

Which, in the case of Sepolia, would be:

DAPP_NAME=<example> docker compose --env-file ../env.sepolia -f ../docker-compose-testnet.yml -f ./docker-compose.override.yml up

Alternatively, you can also run the node on host mode by executing:

DAPP_NAME=<example> docker compose --env-file ../env.<network> -f ../docker-compose-testnet.yml -f ./docker-compose.override.yml -f ../docker-compose-host-testnet.yml up

Interacting with deployed DApps

You can interact with deployed DApps using the frontend-console tool mentioned before, but this time specifying a few connectivity configurations appropriate for the target network. Please refer to its documentation for details on how to use it to send inputs, list outputs, deposit tokens, and more.

Creating DApps

The fundamental step of creating a new DApp is to implement a back-end, which is equivalent to writing a smart contract for traditional blockchains. Front-end clients are also usually desirable (e.g., to provide a UI for the DApp), but in some cases generic clients such as the frontend-console application may be sufficient from the DApp developer's point of view.

Quick-start template

The custom-dapps directory contains a simple template to quickly create a new DApp, based on the Echo Python DApp example.

Build strategies

Digging a little deeper, creating a back-end basically consists of building an appropriate Cartesi Machine. In this repository, Cartesi Machines always boot a Linux kernel, with each DApp defining its root file-system and optionally additional drives with DApp resources.

This repository contains two different strategies or "build systems" for easily assembling Cartesi Machines with arbitrary user-provided code, as described below.

std-rootfs: using a standard root file-system

In this system, the DApp uses a standard root file-system that is downloaded from Cartesi's image-rootfs Github repository.

DApp-specific content is defined using a Dockerfile that places files inside a directory called /opt/cartesi/dapp. This content is then further filtered by specifying files of interest in a dapp.json configuration file. By default, the DApp starts by executing a file called, which should be inside the /opt/cartesi/dapp directory and included in the dapp.json list of files of interest. All of these files will be made available to the Cartesi Machine in a drive labeled "dapp", which is mounted separately from the main root file-system drive.

In this build system, the developer needs to ensure that contents are compatible with the Cartesi Machine's RISC-V architecture. This means that binaries must be generated with the riscv64 platform as target, which can be done using the cross-compiler from the cartesi/toolchain Docker image. This is the case for code written in C++ or Rust, and is also recommended for Python DApps since Python dependencies sometimes need to be compiled natively.

In summary, for this strategy the DApp needs to provide the following:

  • A Dockerfile producing content in /opt/cartesi/dapp. The Dockerfile should use cartesi/toolchain as its base image if it needs to cross-compile code to RISC-V
  • A dapp.json file specifying a list of files of interest from the /opt/cartesi/dapp directory, which should include

This strategy makes sense if the DApp does not have many special requirements, and can mostly run using the resources already bundled in the standard root file-system. This is the case for the simple Echo Python DApp, for example. Using this system also makes sense if the developer is familiar with cross-compilation, because it is faster than the other more general-purpose docker-riscv strategy described below.

docker-riscv: using RISC-V base Docker images

In this system, the entire build process is done using standard RISC-V Docker images. As such, the DApp developer is free to use regular Linux distributions as a base image, and then transparently add any dependency without having to perform any cross-compilation.

Note: at the moment, only images based on the Ubuntu RISC-V distribution are effectively supported. Examples include riscv64/ubuntu itself and cartesi/python, which extends it to add Python support. It is strongly recommended to use slim images, so as to keep the Cartesi Machine size as small as possible. Moreover, it is also important to avoid including in the final images any resources that are only needed when building the DApp. To that end, it is recommended to define an intermediate "build stage" in your Dockerfile, and only copy to the final image the resources required for DApp execution.

With this strategy, you can use any package manager to download dependencies needed for your DApp, as you would normally do in any Linux environment. Commands like apt-get install and pip install can simply download RISC-V binaries already available in remote repositories. Additionally, any source code that needs to be compiled is also transparently targeted to the RISC-V platform.

To make it possible to use RISC-V images in a regular x86 or ARM computer, you must enable QEMU emulation support in Docker. Again, we recommend using Docker Desktop, which already provides QEMU support. If not using Docker Desktop, emulator support can be added by running a special Docker image such as linuxkit/binfmt or tonistiigi/binfmt. For example:

docker run --privileged --rm  linuxkit/binfmt:bebbae0c1100ebf7bf2ad4dfb9dfd719cf0ef132

For this build system, the entire content produced by the Dockerfile will be made available to the Cartesi Machine as its root file-system drive. The only requirement is that there must be an executable file within the /opt/cartesi/dapp directory.

DApp files and resources can be added normally by copying them inside the Dockerfile. You may use .dockerignore to easily filter which files to add (e.g., to include everything in the local host directory but ignore the .venv directory along with bake and docker-compose files).

In summary, in this system the DApp needs to provide the following:

  • A Dockerfile based on an Ubuntu RISC-V image, whose final contents must include an executable file called /opt/cartesi/dapp/
  • Any necessary resources can be added inside the Dockerfile as desired. Package managers such as apt-get or pip can also be used to install dependencies

This strategy is the best option for adding any arbitrary dependency to your DApp. However, keep in mind that performing build operations such as compiling binaries inside an emulated RISC-V image is slower than executing them on your host machine. As such, in specific situations it may still be useful to generate RISC-V binaries via cross-compilation and then add them to the final image, as in the std-rootfs build system.


A basic "hello world" application, this DApp's back-end is written in Python and simply copies each input received as a corresponding output notice.

Implements the same behavior as the Echo Python DApp above, but with a back-end written in C++.

Implements the same behavior as the Echo Python DApp above, but with a back-end written in Rust.

Implements the same behavior as the Echo Python DApp above, but with a back-end written in Lua.

Implements the same behavior as the Echo Python DApp above, but with a back-end written in JavaScript.

Implements the same behavior as the Echo Python DApp above, but with a back-end written in C++ using the low-level Cartesi Rollups API.

An extension of the Echo DApp that handles complex input in the form of JSON strings, in order to perform transformations on text messages.

The Calculator DApp is a simple mathematical expression evaluator that illustrates how to incorporate a pure Python dependency into an application.

Demonstrates how a DApp can easily leverage standard mainstream capabilities by building a minimalistic "decentralized SQL database" just by using the Cartesi Machine's built-in support for SQLite. This application will receive arbitrary SQL commands as input and execute them in an internal database, allowing users to insert data and query them later on. This example also highlights how errors should be handled, in the case of invalid SQL statements.

A Machine Learning Python application that implements the k-Nearest Neighbors supervised classification algorithm, and applies it to the classic Iris flower dataset.

A more generic Machine Learning DApp that illustrates how to use the m2cgen (Model to Code Generator) library to easily leverage widely used Python ML tools such as scikit-learn, NumPy and pandas.

Demonstrates how to handle ERC-20 deposits and withdrawals. The application parses ERC-20 deposits received from the Portal and emits a notice confirming receipt. It then issues corresponding vouchers to return the assets back to the depositor.

Demonstrates how to create simple auctions for NFTs. The application comes with an integrated wallet and is capable of handling deposits, transfers and withdrawals for ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens. It also implements a simple auction engine, which is responsible for creating auctions and handling bids, as well as transferring the auctioned NFTs to the winning bidder when the auction ends. It exercises the Rollups API, showing how to process advance and inspect requests, as well as how to generate Notices, Vouchers, and Reports.