What is blockchain layer 1?

In the decentralized blockchain ecosystem, a “layer-1 protocol” refers to a blockchain, while a “layer-2 protocol” is a third-party integration that can be used in conjunction with a layer-1 blockchain. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Electra Protocol are layer-1 solutions running on their own blockchain. Layer-1 scaling solutions augment the base layer of the blockchain protocol itself in order to improve scalability. A number of methodologies are currently being practiced and developed that improve the scalability of blockchain networks directly.

How layer 1 solutions work

Layer-1 solutions can change the rules of the protocol directly to increase transaction capacity and speed, while accommodating more users and data. Layer-1 scaling solutions can entail, for example, increasing the amount of data contained in each block, or accelerating the rate at which blocks are confirmed, so as to increase overall network throughput. Electra Protocol is a layer-1 solution running on its own highspeed blockchain network.

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Functional updates

Some consensus mechanisms are more efficient than others. Proof-of-work is the consensus protocol currently in use on popular blockchain networks like Bitcoin. Although its proof-of-work consensus is secure, it is slow. That’s why many newer blockchain networks, such as Electra Protocol, favor the proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. Instead of requiring miners to solve cryptographic algorithms using substantial computing power, proof-of-stake systems process and validate new blocks of transaction data based on participants staking collateral in the network.

Some blockchains also make use of shading. Sharding is a mechanism adapted from distributed databases that has become one of the most popular layer-1 scaling solutions, despite its somewhat experimental nature within the blockchain sector. Sharding entails breaking the state of the entire blockchain network into distinct datasets called “shards” — a more manageable task than requiring all nodes to maintain the entire network. These network shards are simultaneously processed in parallel by the network, allowing for sequential work on numerous transactions.