Today, the blockchain industry is well-known. Simply explained, a blockchain is a network of computer systems that store and disseminate a digital log of transactions all over the world through nodes. Blockchain is only future proof method of storing information that makes it challenging, if not impossible, to manipulate, hack, or trick the system. Another feature of blockchain is to act as a smart contract platform that helps decentralised apps build on them.
What is Layer 1 Blokchain?
Now that you have understood what blockchain is, let me introduce to you a new term – Layer 1 blockchain. They are the foundation of any blockchain infrastructure on which the dApps are built.
Layer 1 protocols defines a set of rules (the law), which is being followed by all dApps built on that platform on its own. For example: how the transactions on the platform would be processed, what would be the consensus, whether the blockchain would be centralised or decentralised etc.
Problems with Layer 1 Blockchain
The main problem is scalability.
I must mention that we are in the very early stage of the blockchain era, and the technology is quite new. We have so many missing pieces at this point. Hence, the speed is very slow.
Let’s say for example: While constructing a building, with the help of a crane or a cement mixer, the construction process gets faster. However, if all those machines are not there, and all that is to be done manually, it will take a very long time.
If we see the analogy, we are in so early stage of blockchain adoption, that even such cranes and such machines are not yet built for blockchain (may be not even thought of).
A lot of things that could accelerate the blockchain growth are yet to be built.
The network speed, and the ability to process transactions faster is missing in layer 1 blockchain solutions.
Because of this, layer 1 blockchain solutions sometimes get CLOGGED, and we need to pay higher gas fee in order to process our transactions faster.
What is the solution, then?
Multiple layer 2 and layer 3 blockchain protocols.
With the rising popularity of cryptocurrencies in everyday life, work on scaling layer 1 and building layers 2 and 3 has begun. This is done to increase transaction speed and decrease congestion on the main network.
You may ask, what is the difference?
Layer 1 is the fundamental blockchain, capable of validating and settling transactions over its own network. Layer 1 is essentially the core of blockchain technology, where the most critical activities are carried out. This is the implementation layer.
Layer 1 blockchain protocols include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, Solana, Binance Smart chain and many more.
In order to enhance the number of distribution nodes and, consequently, the output of a distributed system, Layer 2 is a third-party interface that operates on the network in Layer 1.
So it uses the same infrastructure, just that the dApps operate on a newer layer. This is the core of layer 2 blockchain protocols.
One such example is Polygon (previously Matic). It is a layer 2 protocol on the top of Ethereum (layer 1 blockchain protocol).
When the transactions that otherwise would have happened on Ethereum can now happen on Matic/Polygon blockchain, it eases the network congestion on the layer 1 1blockchain without compromising on the security.
Layer 1 v/s Layer 2 : Short Summary
Layer 1 is the bedrock of a blockchain system, on which the Layer 2 blockchains could well be constructed. Layer 2 is mostly used for scaling.
This contributes to the decongestion of the main chain, resulting in shorter transaction times and lower transaction fees.
Layer 2 blockchains are substantially less costly than Layer 1 blockchains due to their more efficient architecture.
What are Layer 1 Blockchain projects?
Since their establishment, Layer 1 tokens have gained tremendous popularity, and the most popular Layer 1 tokens can be accessed easily.
These are my top Layer 1 blockchain projects (which could vary from person to person):
Ethereum is widely considered the first smart contract platform, and it has the highest market capitalization among all the Layer 1 networks. One of the reasons for its success is the Ethereum virtual machine commonly referred to as the EVM. It is the most decentralised (truly), and the most preferred blockchain platform for everyone.
At the moment, Bitcoin is the most prevalent and widely used currency. Because of its high value, lengthy history, and inception as the most renowned sort of digital money, Bitcoin is recognized as one of the best cryptocurrencies to invest in. Bitcoin now has the highest liquidity of any cryptocurrency, implying that selling or obtaining Bitcoin is straightforward. Bitcoin is also getting ready for the smartcontracts.
Solana is sometimes called an Ethereum killer. A (so called) decentralized blockchain called Solana was created to provide globally usable, scalable apps. It is among the quickest DeFi devices with a maximum TPS of 65,000. I like Solana because of its faster transaction speed and most importantly, lower gas fee. However, there are some criticism as well. Solana is centralised, and have gone to shut down their blockchain multiple times since inception ( that goes against the core principle of blockchain).
Binance Smart Chain
Binance Smart Chain (BSC) is yet another EVM-compatible platform. Despite the fact that the BSC network is relatively centralized, its native coin BNB allows for rapid and cheap transactions via a secure network. Because of BSC’s scalability, BNB ranks among the top Layer 1 coins. Despite the fact that it is dependent on the Ethereum development community, some investors believe that BSC would someday outperform Ethereum.
An open-source blockchain called Polkadot makes it easier to create parachains, which let several blockchains fully connect and interact with each other. Each chain is created on the Polkadot platform utilizing a modular framework, which is ideal for developers. While most Layer 1 cryptocurrency projects on this list lack scalability, Polkadot focuses on transparent governance, upgradeability, and scalability.
Avalanche is yet another blockchain that is compatible with the EVM. It seeks to address Ethereum’s scalability issues. This platform, like the EVM, uses the C-chain as a proprietary network chain. Developers may construct smart contracts with Ethereum in mind by using the C-chain, making Avalanche one of the most versatile cryptocurrencies on our Layer 1 list..
The Hive blockchain employs the proof-of-stake (DPoS) consensus mechanism. Hive is a social network of apps and services where users may explore the possibilities of blockchain technology, connect to the platform, and safely trade information via fair value transfer. Hive is a layer-2 sidechain-based open-source blockchain that prioritizes scalability while keeping the benefits of a layer-1 blockchain.
A new generation of games, applications, and the digital assets that fuel them will be built on Flow, a quick, decentralized, and developer-friendly blockchain. This blockchain which was created from the ground up for widespread adoption combines usability improvements into the protocol layer.
Celo, a blockchain ecosystem, is focused on increasing smartphone users’ adoption of cryptocurrencies. Celo aims to make bitcoin transactions available to billions of smartphone users globally, even those without bank accounts, by using phone numbers as public keys. The network, as part of decentralized finance, also allows for the creation of smart contracts and decentralized apps.
Algorand is the finest Layer 1 crypto since it is based on a PoS method and is thought to be more secure than certain other PoS platforms. On the Algorand platform, validators are chosen at random, making it very difficult to anticipate which validator will perform at the highest level.
The goal of Cosmos is to build an Internet of Blockchains that will enable blockchains to preserve their independence, communicate with one another and the rest of the ecosystem, and process transactions quickly—making it ideal for a variety of use cases. Tendermint consensus, which powers each blockchain in the Cosmos, and BFT consensus algorithms are employed by the network to operate.
The NEAR blockchain was designed to be user-friendly, safe, and scalable. It was developed as a platform for community-controlled cloud computing. As a result, a platform is created that is user- and developer-friendly and provides the ideal setting for DApps.
Cardano is a blockchain platform that uses proof-of-stake. Being based on peer-reviewed research and created using evidence-based techniques, it is the first. It integrates cutting-edge technology to give decentralized applications, systems, and society unmatched security and sustainability.
A brand-new blockchain called Aptos is considered to be among the best because it was developed to compete with other top Layer 1 crypto projects like Solana. The users of the APT are promised greater Layer 1 scalability, security, usability, and dependability.
Upcoming Layer 1 Crypto projects
Numerous Layer-1 solutions have kept rising in public prominence as a result of the recent exponential rise of the cryptocurrency business.
Explore some of the forthcoming Layer 1 projects (which could airdrop tokens in 2023):
Sui is a permissionless decentralized smart contract platform that is skewed toward low-latency asset management. Assets are referred to as anything that might be held by an address in this program using the Move programming language. The activities that may be performed on these typed objects are defined by move programs. These operations include mutating assets, transferring them to new owners, and creating them according to certain rules.
Read about SUI airdrop guide 2023
In direct competition with Layer-1 blockchains like Ethereum, Shardeum employs dynamic state-sharding technology to linearly expand and improve transactions per second with each node added to the network. As a result, the network may continue to operate at low gas prices while growing.
Read about Shardeum airdrop guide 2023
The only decentralized blockchain and smart contract platform created for cross-chain interoperability, ZetaChain, is an up-and-coming layer 1 blockchain. ZetaChain is the appropriate solution for managing huge numbers of transactions without overloading during moments of high demand because of the type of scalability it aims to provide to all users.
Read about Zetachain airdrop guide 2023.