In cryptography, Layer 2 means a standalone framework that sits on top of the current blockchain technology. The objective of building or using Layer 2 systems is to solve the challenges that currently face the primary blockchain, namely speed, and scalability. These features, as well as translating into faster transaction times, also brings the advantage of more reasonable fees for both miners and users.
Looking at both Bitcoin and Ethereum, it is clear that their compositions are both geniuses, however, they do have limitations, whereby they are still unable to process thousands of transactions per second (TPS) and this certainly limits their overriding potential in the long run. The slow processing speed means that some Dapps are just unfeasible for use on chains, like Ethereum. These include blockchain gaming apps, which make no sense if the playtime is so slow. These Layer 1 chains will have to effectively conduct transactions at a much greater speed before they can be widely adopted. As such Layer 2 chains have been born on the premise of solving the challenges the primary blockchains face.
Independent Layer 2 Chains
This secondary framework, allows transactions to occur completely independently of the main chain, where the main chain is left unchanged. The extra layer is where the transactions and processes take place in what is known as “off-chain” scaling solutions. This promotes faster transactions, without the security of the network being compromised.
There are a number of Layer 2 solutions that have been developed with the goal of speeding up throughput in mind. As well as the Bitcoin Lightning Network and Ethereum Plasma other leading examples of Layer 2 solutions include MetisDAO and Polygon.
Whereas most Layer 2 solutions focus on the issues of transactional costs and efficiency. Metis is working on constructing a network that will also allow collaborations on the blockchain to help run Web 3.
Web 3 intends to change the way the internet is used, using the blockchain, and removing control from individuals or organisations, with the ability to capitalize off of user data in the way Google and Facebook are doing. It will leave no footprint for users. It will use distributed users and machines without the need for intervention of third parties. The goal is putting the users first and preserving their privacy.
Metis premise lies on an infrastructure that promotes governance for all users and NFT embedded reputation power. In addition to making this chain scalable and decentralized by using many virtual machines, it offers users interoperability between the main chain and its own chain (including the Ethereum Virtual Chain), where token transfer time from Layer 2 to Layer 1 is extremely fast. It supports projects and communities to launch their own tokens in order to self-sustain.
Polygon Formerly Known as Matic
Polygon is another Layer 2 solution that has the goal of enabling Ethereum to become a full-fledged, multi-chain system that is powerful and fast. It works with all transactions and processes occurring on the side chains and then speedy withdrawals from the Layer 2 to the Layer 1 chain. A single Matic sidechain can achieve 2 16 transactions per block, and potentially millions of transactions using multiple chains going forward. Polygon recently underwent a rebranding from Matic with the new goal of experimenting with different scaling techniques that include ZK Rollups and Optimistic Rollups. Polygon also aims to focus on inter-chain communication protocols as well as to develop an Internet of blockchains which will be based on Ethereum.
Both of these chain types allow developers to build and host decentralized applications and of course to test them too in just a few easy steps. Metis is suitable for those new to the blockchain. The Metis Rollup helps beginners to build their own decentralized apps and businesses.
As scalability becomes the thorn in the side of the blockchain, Layer 2 solutions have evolved to face this challenge head-on. The future is scalable.