In the constantly evolving world of blockchain technology, interoperability and scalability are at the forefront of innovation. Ethereum, as the most popular blockchain by volume, has sought to scale by moving transaction volume to Layer 2s. Other Layer 1 blockchains with various scaling mechanisms have launched to compete with Ethereum. A number of these Layer 1s are Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible. Being EVM compatible is beneficial for a chain as it enables an easier developer and bridging experience. In this blog post, we’ll explore several prominent EVM-compatible Layer 1 blockchains.
What are Layer 1s?
A Layer 1 is a foundational blockchain layer, handling all transactions and smart contracts on-chain. A Layer 2 comprises solutions built on top of Layer 1 blockchains, enhancing scalability by conducting some operations off-chain or on separate sidechains. Layer 2s can process more transaction volume than ethereum mainnet through bundling of transactions. Well known Layer 2s include Arbitrum, Optimism & Polygon.
What are the benefits of a Layer 1 over a Layer 2 ?
Using a Layer 1 blockchain over a Layer 2 solution offers several advantages. Layer 1 blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, provide a robust, decentralised, and highly secure foundation for transactions and smart contracts. Their security is often better than a Layer 2, making them ideal for storing assets. Layer 1 networks also offer trust without intermediaries, ensuring transparency and censorship resistance. In contrast, Layer 2 solutions, while enhancing scalability and reducing costs, may introduce additional complexities and dependencies, making them less suitable for applications where utmost security and decentralisation are the most important factors.
Popular Layer 1 Blockchains
Binance Smart Chain (BSC)
BSC is considered a Layer 1 blockchain, although its level of centralisation is higher than others. BSC is popular due to its compatibility with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which allows developers to easily port Ethereum-based decentralised applications (DApps) to BSC, making it a cost-effective alternative. One of its major benefits is its high transaction throughput and low fees, providing a faster and more affordable experience for users and developers. However, it is important to note that BSC’s drawbacks include its centralised validator system, which raises concerns about decentralisation and censorship resistance. While it caters to specific use cases, BSC may not be the best choice for applications that prioritize the highest level of decentralisation and security found in other Layer 1 blockchains like Ethereum or Bitcoin.
The Celo blockchain is an emerging Layer 1 blockchain with a focus on financial inclusion and accessibility. One of its main benefits is its emphasis on mobile-first usability, making it user-friendly and suitable for regions with limited access to traditional banking infrastructure.
Celo is transitioning to a Layer 2 solution. The Celo Reserve, which is a pool of digital assets backing the Celo stablecoins, is being connected to Ethereum through a bridge, effectively turning Celo into a Layer 2 solution for Ethereum. The bridge will allow Celo assets to be used in the broader Ethereum ecosystem, enhancing interoperability and potentially alleviating some of the scalability issues of a stand-alone blockchain.
Sharedeum is a blockchain platform crafted for the sharing economy, tackling challenges related to trust and security. Its EVM compatibility offers developers access to Ethereum’s extensive ecosystem, simplifying the creation of decentralized sharing platforms. Sharedeum is a unique player in this space, catering to projects centered around the sharing economy. Whilst most blockchains become slower with more users and transactions, Shardeum will scale linearly through dynamic state sharding. Every node that joins the Shardeum network will increase the transactions per second capacity on Shardeum. This unique mechanism will allow for sustainable growth.
Avalanche is a Layer 1 blockchain platform known for its high-speed consensus mechanism and scalability. One of its primary benefits is its sub-second confirmation times, making it exceptionally fast for processing transactions. Avalanche employs a novel consensus protocol that allows for the creation of custom blockchains, known as subnets, which can cater to specific use cases or applications. This allows developers to build decentralised applications with ease. One of the potential drawbacks of Avalanche lies in its relative newness, as it hasn’t yet achieved the same level of adoption as more established Layer 1 blockchains like Ethereum or Bitcoin.
Canto, while relatively new to the scene, brings an exciting perspective to EVM-compatible blockchains. It was designed to address the demand for scalability and efficiency in blockchain platforms. Canto offers high throughput and low latency for dApps, positioning itself as a solid choice for DeFi, NFTs, and various other use cases. EVM compatibility ensures a straightforward transition for Ethereum projects.
EVM-compatible Layer 1 blockchains are transforming the blockchain landscape by providing scalability, cost-effectiveness, and interoperability. Each of these platforms contribute a unique set of features and capabilities. They cater to diverse use cases in the blockchain and dApp ecosystem, from DeFi and NFTs to sharing economy platforms.
As blockchain technology continues to evolve, these EVM-compatible Layer 1 blockchains are poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of decentralised applications and blockchain solutions. By exploring these platforms, developers and entrepreneurs can unlock new avenues of innovation, driving the blockchain space toward even greater heights of adoption and utility.