Over the years, blockchain solutions have continued to evolve in a bid to meet up with contemporary needs and as well solve lingering scalability issues. Scalability deals with the ability of a network to process transactions within a specific time. We can relate blockchain scalability to transaction speed on a given blockchain network. A blockchain network can be said to be highly scalable if it possesses the capacity to process a large volume of transactions very fast without jeopardizing its decentralization. In a bid to solve scalability issues, many solutions like layer-2 blockchains came into existence. Without further ado, this article will examine layer-2 blockchains and its functionalities.
Defining Layer-2 blockchain
Layer-2 blockchain can be best described as a scaling solution designed as a secondary framework on an existing Layer-1 blockchain. The essence of this secondary framework is to enhance the speed of a network and solve the issue of high gas fees, particularly during congestion on a network. According to findings, layer-2 solutions manifest in different ways, including state channels, side chains, payment channels, rollups, and many more. State channels as a category of Layer-2 solution enable two or more parties to carry out multiple transactions off-chain. None of these transactions are necessarily broadcasted to the main blockchain. This thus helps to reduce the number of transactions running on the network, thereby enhancing its scalability.
As for side chains, they operate in connection to the main chain. With this, they interact and share specified assets between themselves. Despite being linked to the main chain, side chains are usually responsible for their own security. Rollups, on the other hand, exist in different forms. They include optimistic rollups and zero-knowledge rollups. Optimistic rollups work as layer-2 solutions for the Ethereum blockchain. They enable users to execute smart contracts off-chain, thereby enhancing the scalability of the main network. Zero-Knowledge rollups allow a party to easily prove to another party that a transaction is true.
Examples of Layer-2 Blockchain
Nordek is a notable example of a Layer-2 blockchain. The network supports Web3 and Blockchain gaming projects. It is worth mentioning that the Nordek Blockchain boasts of processing transactions within five (5) seconds. In addition, Nordek employs a delegated proof of stake consensus mechanism, making it one of the eco-friendly blockchains in the industry. Another notable feature that makes Nordek a trailblazer among other Layer-2 networks is its zero charges on all transactions.
The Lightning Network is another example of a Layer-2 solution built on the Bitcoin Network. The solution surfaced as an attempt to attend to the issues battling the Bitcoin network. Mainly, these issues are speed and transaction costs on the Bitcoin blockchain. Further, the Bitcoin Lightning Network functions by establishing a payment pathway between two parties. Consequently, recording the first and the last transaction on the Bitcoin Network. Due to that, any transactions between the first and second one will be recorded off-chain. This implies that these transactions are beyond the Bitcoin protocol.
Optimism remains a prominent type of layer-2 network built on Ethereum. The blockchain relies on the security structure of Ethereum. With that, it ensures scalability within the network with the help of optimistic rollups. It is worth mentioning that Optimism is designed in a way to only record transactions on its network. Consequently, it secures these transactions on the Ethereum network. By that, the solution uses Ethereum code and structure when needed. Basically, the four basic tenets of the Optimism blockchain are Simplicity, Pragmatism, Sustainability, and Optimism.
Also, like most Layer-2 networks, helps to arrest the scalability issues of Ethereum. The core component of the Layer-2 network remains the Polygon SDK which is a type of modular flexible framework that assists in designing numerous blockchain-oriented applications. Additionally, the network combines the Plasma Framework and the proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. The Plasma Framework facilitates the smooth execution of scalable and autonomous smart contracts.
Conclusion on Layer-2 blockchain
Layer-2 blockchains are making rave in the industry, owing to their characteristics. However, they can barely stand on their own without the support of their underlying network. Simply, the underlying chain provides security, while the Layer-2 blockchain provides high throughput.
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