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Blockchain Layer 1 vs. Layer 2: Things You Must Know – Bybit Learn

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In blockchain know-how, the time period “scaling” refers to an increment within the system throughput charge, as measured by the variety of transactions carried out per second. With the more and more prevalent use of cryptocurrencies in on a regular basis life, it has now grow to be essential to create blockchain layers for higher community safety, recordkeeping, and extra. Layer 1 in a decentralized ecosystem is the blockchain. Layer 2, however, is a third-party integration mixed with Layer 1 to extend the variety of nodes, and subsequently, system throughput. At present, many Layer 2 blockchain options are being carried out. These options leverage good contracts to automate transactions.

Blockchain Layer 1 vs. Layer 2

Blockchain know-how comes with many advantages: it will increase safety ranges, permits fuss-free transactions and makes recordkeeping attainable. Nevertheless, as its utilization turns into extra widespread, plenty of issues are surfacing. One such drawback is scalability.

In a blockchain, each transaction in a decentralized system has to undergo a number of steps, which take a major quantity of processing energy and time. To enhance the blockchain’s dealing with capability, blockchain builders are introducing Layer 2 scaling into the construction. Let’s be taught extra about the way it works.

Why Is Blockchain Scalability Essential?

The definition of the phrase “scalability” varies from knowledgeable to knowledgeable. Nevertheless, at its core, blockchain scalability refers back to the system’s means to supply a wealthy expertise to each consumer, regardless of the overall variety of customers at any given time.

The time period “throughput” refers back to the variety of transactions a system handles per second. Whereas firms/cost channels like Visa course of practically 20,000 TPS with the VisaNet digital cost community, Bitcoin’s major chain can carry out solely 3 to 7 TPS.

The distinction in capability may be stunning, however there’s a easy rationalization behind it. Bitcoin adopts a decentralized system, whereas VisaNet runs on a centralized system. The previous makes use of extra processing energy and time to safeguard the privateness of its customers. Every information transaction has to undergo a number of steps, together with acceptance, mining, distribution, and validation by a node community.

With cryptocurrency anticipated to grow to be an crucial drive within the enterprise world, blockchain builders are attempting to extend the scope of blockchain dealing with. By creating blockchain layers and optimizing Layer 2 scaling, they wish to pace up processing occasions and ramp up the variety of TPS.

Bitcoin’s Battle With Scalability

Bitcoin began as a easy blockchain for customers to ship and obtain digital foreign money. Nevertheless, it’s been grappling with the difficulty of scalability since its inception, which gave rise to the query: What would occur if increasingly individuals had been to start out utilizing Bitcoin?

This state of affairs will be considered a networking drawback. Each system has a certain amount of bandwidth, and may solely course of as much as a sure variety of transactions per second (TPS). Moreover, each transaction in a decentralized system must be checked, and thus ample space for storing is required.

Quick ahead to 2021. As Bitcoin grew to become well-liked, the anticipated occurred: the protocol crammed up. In consequence, processing speeds fell.

Why Is the Present Blockchain Calling for Layer 2 Know-how?

The reply is easy: elevated demand and better prices of transactions. Let’s clarify this through the use of Ethereum for instance.

Since Ethereum has a consensus mechanism, it permits a number of decentralized purposes. In blockchain know-how, a consensus mechanism is a fault-tolerant system that permits agreements on a single community state in distributed nodes. These protocols be certain that all nodes agree on transactions and are synchronized. This makes the Ethereum chain immensely troublesome to overwrite or assault.

Because of the stability and safety of Ethereum, the ICO craze started, main people to create cash on the blockchain. Consequently, there was an inflow of customers and an uptick within the variety of transactions made on Ethereum. Because the system grew to become clogged, the transaction payment — or “gasoline” paid to events processing transactions on Ethereum’s community — elevated.

When a blockchain community is clogged, pending transactions find yourself within the reminiscence pool and take extra time to course of. To deal with this, miners begin prioritizing transactions which have larger gasoline costs in an effort to verify them. This additional raises the minimal value required to make a transaction.

The cycle of worth increment will get to a degree the place gasoline charges skyrocket, making the scenario worse for everybody. Layer 2 scaling is geared toward offering an answer to this drawback and reducing the prices of transactions.

The Drawback With Layer 1

A Layer 1 community is a blockchain in a decentralized system. Two examples of this are Bitcoin and Ethereum.

In Layer 1 scaling, the underlying blockchain protocol is modified to make scalability attainable. With these options, the protocol’s guidelines are modified to extend the capability and transaction pace, thus accommodating extra information and customers.

Layer 1 scaling could possibly be:

  • Enhancing the pace of block affirmation
  • Rising the data-containing capability of a block

Collectively, these scaling options enhance the community’s throughput. Nevertheless, Layer 1 appears to be falling brief with the rising variety of blockchain customers. Following are some incompetencies of the system.

Inefficient Consensus Protocol

Layer 1 blockchain nonetheless makes use of the outdated and clunky proof-of-work consensus mechanism.

Though this mechanism is safer than others, its pace holds it again. Miners are wanted to make use of computing energy to resolve cryptographic algorithms. Thus, extra computing energy and time are required general.

The Answer

An alternate consensus is the proof-of-stake, which Ethereum 2.0 will use. This consensus mechanism validates new transaction information blocks in line with the staking collateral of the members within the community, making the method extra environment friendly.

Extreme Workload

Because the variety of customers has elevated, so has the workload on Layer 1 blockchain. Due to this, processing speeds and capacities have dipped.

The Answer

The scaling resolution for this drawback is sharding. Merely put, sharding breaks the job of validating and authenticating transactions into small and manageable bits. Due to this fact, the workload will be unfold throughout the community to harness computing energy by means of extra nodes.

Because the community processes these shards concurrently in parallel, sequential processing on a number of transactions can happen on the identical time.

Layer Scaling 2 Options

Layer 2 blockchain operates on the native layer to enhance its effectivity. Successfully offloading transactions, Layer 2 takes a portion of Stage 1 blockchain’s transactional burden and offers it to a different system structure.

The Layer 2 blockchain then handles the processing load and experiences to Layer 1 for consequence finalization. Since a lot of the information processing load is given to this adjoining auxiliary structure, community congestion is diminished: not solely does the Layer 1 blockchain grow to be much less congested, it additionally turns into extra scalable.

An instance of Layer 1 blockchain is Bitcoin’s Lightning Community, a Layer 2 scaling resolution that concurrently takes the load from Bitcoin and experiences to it. In consequence, the Lighting Community will increase the processing pace on the Bitcoin blockchain. As well as, the Lightning Community brings good contracts to the Stage 1 Bitcoin blockchain.

Listed here are a couple of different Layer 2 scaling options:

Nested Blockchain (Plasma)

A nested Layer 2 blockchain operates on high of one other blockchain. Mainly, Layer 1 units the parameters whereas the nested Layer 2 blockchain executes the processes.

There will be a number of blockchain ranges on one mainchain. Consider it as a typical firm construction. As an alternative of getting one particular person (e.g., the supervisor) do all of the work, the supervisor designates duties to subordinates, who report again to the supervisor as soon as they’re carried out with their respective duties. By doing so, the burden on the supervisor is lessened whereas scalability is improved.

An instance of that is the OMG Plasma Mission, which acts as a Stage 2 blockchain for Ethereum’s Stage 1 protocol to make sure cheaper and faster transactions.

State Channels

State channels permit two-way communication between members of the blockchain to happen. In doing so, members can scale back ready time since there’s no third-party — for example, a miner — concerned within the course of.

Right here’s the way it works:

  • Per good contracts, the members pre-agree to seal off a portion of the bottom layer.
  • They’ll then straight work together with one another, eliminating the necessity to contain the miners.
  • After conducting the complete transaction set, they add the ultimate channel state to the blockchain.

Each Raiden Community on Ethereum and Lightning Community on Bitcoin are examples of state channels. Lightning Community lets members conduct a number of microtransactions throughout a specific period. In the meantime, Raiden lets members run good contracts by way of private channels.

State channels like Lightning Community are additionally completely safe, since solely the members know in regards to the transactions. On the flip facet, the Ethereum Stage 1 blockchain information all transactions in a publicly auditable ledger.


Together with state channels resembling Lightning Community and good contracts, sidechains are additionally a scaling resolution for Layer 2 blockchain know-how. A sidechain is a transactional chain facilitating a lot of transactions. It has a consensus mechanism that’s unbiased of the native layer. The mechanism will be optimized to reinforce scalability and processing pace. On this scenario, the mainchain has to substantiate transaction information, preserve safety and deal with disputes.

Sidechains differ from state channels in that they publicly file all transactions within the ledger. Additionally, if a sidechain experiences a safety breach, it doesn’t impression different sidechains or the bottom layer mainchain itself.


Rollups are Layer 2 blockchain scaling options that execute transactions exterior of the Layer 1 blockchain and publish the information from the transactions on it. Because the information is on the bottom layer, it permits Layer 1 to maintain rollups safe.

Rollups have two completely different safety fashions:

  • Optimistic Rollups: These assume transactions to be legitimate by default. Thus, they solely conduct computation to detect fraud if there’s a problem.
  • Zero-Information Rollups: These rollups run computations off-chain. Subsequently, they submit the validity proof to the bottom layer or mainchain.

Rollups assist to extend transaction throughput, open participation, and scale back gasoline charges for customers.

Limitations of Layer 1 and Layer 2

Blockchain layering comes with a number of advantages. As an illustration, the first benefit of Layer 1 options is that builders don’t have so as to add something to the present structure, because the base layer is modified.

In the meantime, Layer 2 scaling options don’t tamper with the bottom layer protocol. Moreover, these options permit a number of microtransactions with out requiring customers to pay sky-high transaction charges, or waste time on miner verification.

Nevertheless, each these blockchain layers have limitations that must be considered.

Addition to Present Protocols

The primary drawback with blockchain layers is including them to current protocols. Each Bitcoin and Etherium have market caps in billions. Customers are buying and selling tens of millions of {dollars} day by day. Due to this fact, it doesn’t make sense to complicate the method by means of pointless coding and experimentation, since this could require some huge cash.

The Scalability Trilemma

Vitalik Buterin, the founding father of Ethereum, got here up with the time period “scalability trilemma” to check with a blockchain’s means to juggle three natural properties:

  • Safety
  • Scalability
  • Decentralization

The trilemma states that any blockchain know-how can solely characteristic two properties at most, by no means all three directly. Thus, the present blockchain know-how will at all times should compromise on one of many elementary properties. A wonderful instance of that is Bitcoin. Whereas its blockchain has managed to optimize decentralization and safety, it has needed to compromise on scalability — by means of no fault of its personal.

What Is the Future After Layer 1 and Layer 2?

Scalability is among the causes crypto mass adoption isn’t attainable within the blockchain trade in the meanwhile. As demand for cryptocurrency will increase, strain to scale blockchain protocols may also mount. Since each blockchain layers have sure limitations, the answer sooner or later will probably be to construct a protocol that may deal with the scalability trilemma.

The Backside Line

With regard to the aforementioned bottleneck, there are two choices accessible: 1) mitigate the scaling drawback, or 2) search for viable options. Blockchain builders are choosing the previous, shifting towards Layer 2 scaling in motion with Ethereum 2.0.

On the time of publication, blockchain methods are nonetheless being developed. The urgent query for the long run is whether or not blockchain layers and Layer 2 scaling will probably be momentary or everlasting. As of this second, nobody actually is aware of.

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