Learn about Blockchain Layer 1 vs. Layer 2 Scaling Solutions


With the exponential rise of blockchain-based applications, the demand for scalable protocols and faster processing is also steep. Expanding block capacity and accommodating ever-increasing user demand is one of the biggest challenges in most blockchain protocol experiences today. Layer one and two protocols are some of the proposed solutions to address the blockchain trilemma. These solutions tweak the existing blockchain architecture to operate with top-notch efficiency and meet user demand. These solutions aim to achieve decentralization while simultaneously achieving security and scalability.

What is a Layer-1 scaling solution?

Layer 1 scaling solution or the L1 network is another term that refers to the base layer blockchain network. Layer 1 is the main structure of a blockchain network. The objective of the L-1 scaling solution is to operate in conjunction with the blockchain protocol in order to make the entire network and decentralized application on top of the chain scalable. Numerous solutions and methodologies are now being tested – that help solve the scalability issue faced by the current blockchain infrastructure. 

Layer-1 solutions developed and deployed on the main net/ blockchain protocol alter the base-layer rules to expand transaction capacity and improve speed, engineered to process a larger volume of users and transactions data. The overall throughput of the blockchain infrastructure is increased with the help of the Layer 1 scaling solution, which beneath the surface, fast tracks the blocks’ confirmation rate, enlarges the block size, and makes the operations efficient

PoS

One of the noteworthy improvements in the blockchain industry is the transition from a proof of work consensus mechanism to a proof of stake consensus mechanism. Proof of stake is significantly faster than the proof of work consensus mechanism, employs fewer resources, and causes the least harm to the environment/ ecosystem. In the proof of stake consensus mechanism, there are no crypto miners actively solving complex, computing power-intensive cryptographic algorithms just to mine a single coin. On the other hand, proof of stake validates a new set of blocks of on-chain transaction data based on the participant staking collateral in the network. In the long term, the proof of stake consensus mechanism is expected to increase the transaction per second TPS rate while bringing down the overall processing fees/ charges.

Sharding

Numerous mainstream blockchain network also employs sharding methodologies to increase the network’s throughput. Under sharding, the state of the blockchain network is broken into distinct datasets, also known as “shards” – shards allow all the nodes to process user and transaction data simultaneously or parallelly rather than in a sequential way.

What is a Layer-2 scaling solution?

The layer-2 protocol is a third-party integration employed on top of the layer-1 blockchain. The Layer-2 scaling solutions are developed to improve the speed and efficiency of the underlying main net/ blockchain. Lightning Network is a perfect example of the layer-2 solution. 

In layer-2 scaling solutions, the transaction processing load of the parent blockchain network is transferred to external or subordinate sources to make the system architecture operate efficiently and fast. Processing data by employing different architectures help lower the base-layer congestion problem, making the parent blockchain network scalable.

ZK-rollups

Zero-knowledge rollups are built to handle and process 2,000 transactions per second and produce a block of transactions per minute. The meaning of the term “Zero-knowledge” is that – every node, all the validators, authenticators, and verifiers participating in the blockchain network, know they hold the same information and state of the blockchain without actually disclosing the information or the data. In the case of the ZK-rollup, bundles of transaction data are collateralized by a smart contract on the main chain while they are migrated off-chain for accelerated computing purposes.

Sidechains

A sidechain acts as a subordinate to the main net blockchain. The sidechain works independently, separate from the main chain. It is built to process large batches of transactions with the help of its own set of validators. The sidechain architecture is built to ensure security, verify batched transaction records, and resolve the dispute – report/ transfer back to the main blockchain network. Sidechain isn’t private; all transactions are recorded on the public ledger.

Deep dive into polygon blockchain L2 solution

The Polygon blockchain network is a layer-2 scaling solution developed to help bring wide-scale adoption to the Ethereum blockchain platform.  

The products provided by the polygon blockchain network solve Ethereum’s scalability issue. 

  1. Polygon blockchain PoS: EVM-compatible sidechain. 
  2. Polygon blockchain Zero: a zk-rollup chain. 
  3. Polygon blockchain Miden: a zk-rollup based on stark war. 
  4. Polygon blockchain Nightfall: a privacy-focused rollup chain. 
  5. Polygon blockchain Hermez: an open-source zero-knowledge rollup. 
  6. Polygon blockchain Avail: a standalone layer-2 chain with a data availability focus. 
  7. Polygon blockchain zkEVM: a zero-knowledge version of Ethereum virtual machine. (The latest update, 2022) The Polygon blockchain network acts as a faster blockchain solution – executing transactions and minting blocks of data concurrently alongside the Ethereum main net/ blockchain – by employing multiple sidechains. 
    The Polygon blockchain network is designed to cater to the varying requirement of developers. On top of that, the polygon blockchain network provides the necessary tools required to develop scalable decentralized applications (dApps).  
    The polygon blockchain-backed software development suite is built to deliver performance, the best user experience, and top-notch security.

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