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I understand that the BigChainDB is a distributed DB at the basic level. It claims that is solves the problem of Scalability in the BlockChain world. What i don't understand is that how it fits into the overall block chain architecture.

In the typical Block Chain world, each node has the full copy of the data and validates any new transactions? How does this work in the BigChain DB when the data is distributed? Each node validates only the blocks that it holds? Even if thats the case, it needs the entire chain? Not clear on the processing scalability here.

Can i build a block chain network just with the BigChainDB or do i need something like Ethereum or Hyperledger to build the block chain network itself?

If i can build the blockchain network with BigChainDB, then what is the equivalent of smart contract in BigChainDB?

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BigchainDB internally uses RethinkDB as a datastore. Technically, the blockchain is stored as JSON strings inside RethinkDB. And BigchainDB is a kind of wrapper on top of this storage which provides the needed cryptography, techniques for building the blocks, parsing the blocks. Also, it provides utility methods to access the database.

RethinkDB provides clustered storage with possible shard based architecture. This makes BigchainDB scalable when RethinkDB has been configured accordingly.

Yes. It is possible to build a blockchain network just with BigchainDB.

BigchainDB library provides APIs to be called from our code. So we can build any application(preferably in Python) and integrate BigchainDB into it. This means that the business logic stays inside the application code. This is totally different from Smart contracts used in Ethereum.
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