A blockchain network refers to the whole system that supports a distributed ledger and its series of smart contracts. It is analogous to a bank’s ledger, only that it ensures its integrity by encryption, decentralized validation, and permanent record instead of simply being based on trust.
The role of smart contracts in a blockchain network is to facilitate the transactions made by the network’s participants and automate their recording on the ledger. This enables the creation of a platform where users can perform various types of transactions depending on the applications developed in it, as well as in other participating blockchains.
There are many instances when blockchain networks that offer various services collaborate with each other to create a bigger ecosystem. In these networks, smart contracts function as the bridge between different networks to enable cross-chain transactions.