What is a Layer 1 Blockchain (and Some Examples)

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Layer 1 is the base level of every blockchain. But before we deep dive into what it is, let’s discuss the blockchain trilemma.

What is the Blockchain/Scalability Trilemma?

The blockchain/scalability trilemma points out the often-held view in terms of decentralization, security, and scalability. Decentralization is governance over a network without a central body that has control over it but instead the community governs it, instead. Scalability is the ability of the network to transfer transactions in a very minimum period and to expand in using numerous applications within the network. Security is how the network makes its integrity intact.

Blockchain networks can only provide two of the three benefits at any given time. For instance, if a network gives more emphasis on decentralization and scalability, it may compromise its security. Giving emphasis on decentralization and security, can affect scalability. More on security and scalability affect decentralization.

Because of the trilemma, developers have created other blockchain networks to attempt to resolve this issue.

2 Types of Layer One Blockchain Solutions

Layer 1 has two types of solutions: Consensus Protocol and Sharding. This is created as an attempt to resolve the issue of the trilemma.

Consensus Protocol

Consensus Protocol is how new transactions are verified if it is true or not by having a consensus from the blocks if it is valid or not. Some of the consensus mechanisms use Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS).  

PoW verifies new information to create a node within the block which strengthens the decentralization and security of the network but compromises its scalability. Bitcoin (BTC) uses PoW.

Another way of verifying the information in the network is through Proof of Stake (PoS). Here, it strengthens the decentralization of the network and its scalability but compromises its security. 


Sharding is creating a partition for the blockchain network and dedicating each shard for specific tasks so the whole blockchain does not have to verify every transaction in the network but these shards would be dedicated to verify these specific transactions to help increase the rate of transactions.

Examples of Layer 1 Blockchain

Here are some of the examples of Layer 1 blockchain: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Near Protocol (NEAR), Avalanche (AVAX), Polkadot (DOT), Cosmos (ATOM), Solana (SOL), Stacks (STX), Fantom (FTM), Elrond (EGLD), Terra (LUNA), Binance Smart Chain (BSC), EOS, Tron (TRX), Kadena (KDA), Waves (WAVES), Internet Computer (ICP), Radix (XRD), Algorand (ALGO), and Harmony (ONE).

Closing Thoughts

Solving the trilemma is still a concern for most blockchains. While Ethereum is the dominant blockchain that other blockchains build on top of, other blockchains are prioritizing what Ethereum is not, such as speed or cost. Layer 1s may or may not satisfy the solution to the trilemma but this has led to more improvement and opportunities in the technology.

This article is published on BitPinas: What is a Layer 1 Blockchain (and Some Examples)

Disclaimer: BitPinas articles and its external content are not financial advice. The team serves to deliver independent, unbiased news to provide information for Philippine-crypto and beyond.

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