What is the second layer of blockchain? Layer 2 solution is a way to increase scalability
After the advent of blockchain technology, the number of transactions made on this technology increased amazingly. Although this increase was the news of the popularity and success of this emerging technology; But on the contrary, it had caused users a long time for Confirm the transaction He remained waiting high cost pay for this. However, these problems and concerns were forever forgotten as soon as the second layer of blockchain was introduced.
In this article, we have fully introduced the second layer of the blockchain network, its features and applications. But before introducing this solution, it is better to get to know the first layer of the blockchain a little more so that the difference between the two becomes clearer.
The first layer of blockchain, a practical but insufficient technology!
In short, the first layer of any blockchain network is its basic or basic infrastructure. This section as Main layer Or mainnet Also known, it defines and contains the main rules of the ecosystem. In addition, a blockchain layer will also be responsible for validating and performing transactions. The main focus of these layers is on decentralization and security of network users. But the principle of decentralization and the absence of a centralized supervision contradicts the security of users on a large scale. As a result, achieving these two goals simultaneously will require significant resources. This issue also reduces network scalability.
Some experts and developers of blockchain technology believe that the contradiction between decentralization and security in blockchain networks is an inevitable issue and we should look for a middle ground for these two issues; But the solution of the second layer of the blockchain succeeded to a large extent in solving the existing concerns in this field. In the following, we have introduced this solution in full.
What is the second layer of blockchain?
The second layer of the blockchain includes a set of off-chain solutions in different blockchain networks that are built on the main network. Thanks to this solution, the problem of congestion and lengthening the time and cost of transactions will be significantly reduced. To better understand this, consider a car wash. The first layer of the blockchain is like a car wash where all the work is done by one person. But the second layer is similar to a mechanized car wash with different sections, each of which has its own unique tasks.
Currently, payment platforms such as Visa They use such a system to manage transactions. Centralized management will undoubtedly block and lock its network due to the extremely high number of Visa transactions from retailers; But this platform has created a second layer for itself by categorizing layers for processing and settlement at regular intervals to prevent such problems from occurring.
In the world of emerging technologies, Ethereum is one of the pioneers Providing the second layer of blockchain is considered. Using rollups such as Optimistic and Zero Knowledge (ZK), this network relieves the pressure of transactions from the main network and provides the ability to process more data. In addition to these two cases, solutions such as Arbitrum and Loopring are also among the second layers of this blockchain network. These roll-ups are discussed in more detail in the following sections of this article.
The importance of the second layer of the blockchain solution
The increase in popularity of the Ethereum blockchain network was not at all unexpected due to the value of Ether and the existence of decentralized applications or Dapps on this network. The growth of users of this network made the Ethereum blockchain need to process 1.5 million different transactions daily. This is while its main network has the ability to process about 15 transactions per second. In the first step, this problem caused a crowding of transactions and in the second step, a sharp increase in the fee for each transaction.
To deal with these problems, the second layer of the Ethereum blockchain started its operation as a network with separate processing power. This second layer, through smart contracts, brings the decentralized security model from the first layer and helps to process transactions faster. In other words, in this network, the first layer is responsible for the availability and decentralization of data, and the second layer handles the scaling and processing of transactions. According to the benefits Significant reduction in transaction costs and also Increasing the scalability and applications of blockchain networksit seems that the use of second layers for popular networks will become inevitable over time.
The use of the second layer in networks such as Ethereum has made this network with high processing power capable of competing with financial platforms such as Visa and Mastercard, and even in the future it will be considered as a serious competitor to replace these platforms. In other words, blockchain layers together can become a suitable platform to replace traditional transaction processing methods.
How does the second layer of blockchain work?
Blockchain layer 2 protocols create a secondary framework for processing transactions outside of the first layer. In other words, by using these protocols, a significant part of the load of the first layer is transferred to the second layer. After the transactions are done and finalized in the second layer, its data is sent back to the first layer to be recorded in the distributed ledger of the main blockchain. The process of transferring data to another layer for processing and returning them is known as roll-up. (In the next parts of this article, we will examine the concept in more detail roll up and the difference between its different versions has been discussed.)
The second layer of the blockchain, like any other open and closed platform, may have a different approach in terms of access. For example, in some cases, these layers are used by a wide variety of applications; On the other hand, their use may be limited to a specific project. In the following, we have introduced some types of second layers of blockchain.
Examples of general second layer
Public second layers provide core network functionality at a lower cost. Some of its examples on the Ethereum network include:
Optimism: This layer is created and presented with the aim of reducing processing time, reducing fees, increasing scalability, decentralization and increasing the safety of Ethereum.
Arbitrum One: Arbitrum is a layer 2 solution on the Ethereum blockchain that provides mainnet dynamics with lower fees.
Boba Network: Bubba was initially considered a derivative project of Optimism. This network is currently operating independently with the aim of strengthening the capacity of smart contracts and improving operational efficiency.
Examples of the second layer of blockchain dedicated to applications
Compared to the general layers, this category of the second layers of the blockchain has a more specialized aspect and has focused on improving the performance of a part of the market. In the following, you can see some examples of application-specific second layers.
Looping: This layer, which uses the Zero Knowledge (ZK) protocol, aims to increase the throughput 1000 times and bring the transaction cost to 0.1% of the main Ethereum layer.
zKSync: This layer is used by prominent platforms such as Binance. This layer is currently active and supports features such as payments, exchanges and token mining as well as NFTs.
Each of the layers introduced above try to achieve their goal through a special process called rollup. In the next part of the article, we will have a look at the nature of roll-up and its role in the operational improvement of blockchain layers.
What is a rollup?
A rollup is a proprietary solution for the second layer of blockchain networks that transfers hundreds of transactions out of the first layer and into other layers. Before sending, these transactions are compressed as a piece of data and then the related transfer is done. The piece of data returned to the main layer (after the transaction) is checked and validated if needed. As a result, each rollup is able to significantly reduce the validation process for each transaction with a batch check.
Although the purpose of all the second layers introduced in this article follows a common goal; But their subtle difference in how they collect data has made us see different types such as Optimism and ZK roll-up. In the table below, you can briefly compare the differences between these two roll-ups.
|Compatible with Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)||100% compatible||Not supported by some rollups|
|A solution to deal with economic attacks||The order of transactions can be controlled by the operator||Such attacks are not possible|
|Transaction processing time on the network (On-Chain)||It may be long due to the possibility of fraud||It has high speed due to sending validation to the main network|
Introducing blockchain layer two projects
Now that you are familiar with the concept of the second layer of the blockchain and how it works, we will take a look at some of the most famous projects that use this protocol. These projects include:
Without a doubt Polygon It is one of the most popular chains of the second layer. In fact, this project is the largest layer two solution for the Ethereum blockchain and increases its scalability significantly. This platform is well tested and used by some important projects such as Sushiswap, Aavegotchi, Chain Games and Quickswap. Also, this platform was recently selected as the first blockchain layer 2 network used in the Disney accelerator project.
Thanks to its scalable nature and instant transaction processing speed, Polygon has become a popular option. Theoretically, this chain can accommodate and process 2 to the power of 16 transactions in each block. Some reports indicate that 7,000 transactions per second are processed on this network; This is while the Ethereum main network is only able to process about 14 transactions per second.
The xDai chain project is a blockchain based on the Ethereum network that uses a proof-of-stake (PoS) mechanism for validation. This platform started its activity at the end of 2018. The native stablecoin of this network is called xDai. The developers of this network believe that the transaction processing speed in this network is very high and its fee is only one xDai token. Of course, the xDai stablecoin is functionally different from other stablecoins such as USD Coin, and instead of using the Ethereum blockchain, it uses its own separate network.
Recently, the xDai chain project by Gnosis chain It has been purchased and taken over. Gnosis is an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible blockchain network that uses a proof-of-stake mechanism.
Project Scale Another layer 2 solution is to increase blockchain scalability. In addition to solving Ethereum’s scalability problem, this chain is also trying to create a suitable platform for decentralized applications. Skale was launched in 2017. The founders of this project initially intended to create a decentralized application; But problems related to scalability in this direction caused the project to change and create a layer 2 solution.
There is no limit!
The inherent contradiction between Scalability, Decentralization and Security Blockchain networks seemed like an unsolvable problem at first; But the developers of this field showed by presenting the second layer solution that there is no limit to the progress of technology! In this article, we introduced the second layer solution and introduced some active projects in this direction. By processing transactions separately, the layer two solution was able to maintain the security and decentralization of blockchain networks in addition to increasing the speed and reducing fees.
In your opinion, in the future, this solution will be responsive to higher transactions or developers should think about the next step from now on? Share your opinions in this field with us and other Valex users.
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