I am a "big picture" kind of person (yes, INTJ) and I am looking for a high-level overview of the Cardano Smart Contract Architecture. Did a preliminary google search and read a few articles but none gave a good overview diagram. So ... I am trying to create one myself (I will post an image/url when it makes sense). Do you know of any good architecture writeups/diagrams on this? (starting at the 50,000 foot level and drilling down to the 20,000 and 10,000 foot levels)...

On the developer portal the technical concepts section has good individual topics but not the big picture: https://developers.cardano.org/docs/get-started/technical-concepts

Any help is appreciated!

  • Let's look at a simple "counter-example" that demonstrates what we need... here is an image on the Solana architecture in an overview document for developers called "10,000 Foot Development View": lh5.googleusercontent.com/… Sep 3, 2021 at 11:42

1 Answer 1


I lifted this screenshot from Reddit so I'm not 100% sure who created it. This is more of a overall Cardano view, so in my mind, qualifies as a 50,000 foot view.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Thank you for your answer! Yes, I would agree this is a 50,000 foot view! The only question I would have is whether it is accurate? You mentioned it was from Reddit - from a user or someone associated with Cardono foundation or IOHK (i.e. someone with authority)? Thanks again!! Aug 15, 2021 at 19:59
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    I do believe this is accurate, from the best of my knowledge (whatever that's worth). Aug 15, 2021 at 20:10
  • I found the original source of the image here. It originated from IOHK themselves. Aug 16, 2021 at 20:48
  • The only thing this diagram lacks is any mention of off-chain/on-chain parts of a smart contract. Maybe that would be in the 30,000 foot view... IOHK PLEASE HELP! We sorely need some good architectural diagrams! Sep 3, 2021 at 1:35

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