The blockchain lasagna, let’s talk about its layers.
The Blockchain Lasagna
One of the first things newcomers to the crypto and blockchain world will inevitably come across are the different layers of blockchain. With each layer having distinct features, and with blockchains utilizing different layers, it’s easy to get lost within this landscape. While the layers of blockchain isn’t exactly a layer-on-top-of-layer thing, comparing it with a lasagna makes it easy to picture and understand.
This article will help clear up some of that confusion as we dive into what each layer is and how they contribute to the blockchain lasagna that we are all trying to enjoy. For more information on blockchain technology, and blockchains.
Painting the Blockchain Lasagna
Let’s start by painting a simple image of this lasagna. The layers of blockchain are: Layer 0, Layer 1, Layer 2, Layer 3. Easy right?
Layer 0 sets up everything above it by providing the ability to split work between different chains, allowing for flexibility, scalability, and interoperability. It is the red sauce base at the very bottom of the lasagna.
Layer 1 is where the foundation is, where transactions and all the work happens. By playing off of the designs in Layer 0, multiple chains can be used to avoid having to work with a monolithic one, which is less flexible. This is the most solid thing in the lasagna, the pasta sheet; this is the foundation.
Layer 2 solves scalability issues even further by allowing third parties to process the transactions. This significantly raises scalability and helps in reinforcing decentralization. This is the white sauce layer that adds even more variety to the flavor, enhancing the entire lasagna.
Layer 3 sets up the blockchain for dApps and other applications. It enhances the scalability and functionality of Layer 2 by expanding it even further. This is the cheese layer on top where toppings and garnishes can lay.
Stack these all on top of each other, and you have our Blockchain Lasagna; one consisting of red sauce (Layer 0), pasta (Layer 1), white sauce (Layer 2), and cheese (Layer 3).
Now that you have a quick idea on the layers of blockchain, let’s move on and talk more about each individual layer!
Layer 1: Foundations
We first start with Layer 1 (L1), the protocol that serves as the foundation layer or the base blockchain. One thing to note about Layer 1 is that it’s not the bottom layer, that would be Layer 0. But to understand more about Layer 0 later, we will start with Layer 1. L1 will be the solid pasta sheet of our blockchain lasagna.
Layer 1 is the foundation that carries out on-chain transactions. The transactions are processed and finalized on this layer, and a native token pays for gas fees. Layer 1 focuses on security where crypto algorithms and decentralized network structures ensure network security and integrity.
The prime example of a layer 1 blockchain is ThunderCore. Stemming from its L1 protocol, ThunderCore is one of the most prominent L1 blockchains that trail-blazed and innovated on the technology.
Many other popular blockchains are also Layer 1 blockchains, noting names like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, etc. These Layer 1 blockchains are what we call monolithic blockchains, ones where everything happens on a single blockchain network. While Layer 1 monolithic chains are common and popularized so early on, there are several problems with them.
It all comes down to three problems: Scalability, Flexibility, and Interoperability.
As blockchain technology becomes more popular and networks amass more users and transactions, scalability becomes an issue. The blockchain often becomes so packed that a single L1 protocol cannot carry out everything efficiently. This leads to obstacles where the chain cannot scale transaction speeds (throughput), costs, and efficiency.
L1 blockchain protocols have problems with flexibility as developers often have to adhere to the chain design and are unable to push development or upgrades without fixing the underlying protocol.
Each blockchain is isolated, so interoperability between chains becomes problematic. Users will have trouble transacting across blockchains, making the experience quite limited. Bridges can be used to help alleviate this issue while another way to solve interoperability is through the next layer we will talk about.
Noting the significance of our pasta sheet and its problems, let’s talk about Layer 0, the red sauce at the very bottom of the lasagna.
Layer 0: Hardware and Protocols
Layer 0, or the protocol layer, is the infrastructure layer where blockchain developers can map and lay down flexible building blocks for further blockchain network development. This is the base red sauce layer at the bottom of a lasagna. This layer is where a lot of Layer 1 problems are solved.
Layer 0 protocol solves Layer 1 problems by allowing developers to launch multiple Layer 1 blockchains, each catering to a different purpose. This solves the three major problems for Web3 infrastructure: scalability, flexibility, and interoperability. By using Layer 0 to split up the work between different chains, these three problems can be tackled. Scalability can be increased by dedicating it to one chain while interoperability can be set up on another to allow transactions across chains. By splitting the work, overall flexibility is improved.
There are even more details to how Layer 0 works, but let’s keep it simple for now. To summarize, Layer 0 is the protocol layer that helps blockchain networks solve the issues of scalability, flexibility, and interoperability by allowing multiple blockchains to be used.
Layer 2: Scaling and Third Parties
Layer 2 (L2) is the white sauce layer on top of the pasta that reinforces everything together.
This layer works on Layer 1 optimization where it solves the problems of Layer 1 without having to work from the ground up with Layer 0. L2 solutions handle everything off Layer 1 blockchain so the loading is easier. Lightning Network is an example of the Layer 2 solution for the Bitcoin Network.
The most prominent problem that Layer 2 solves is the scalability issue. Layer 2 solutions are anchored to Layer 1 and allow third-party networks to process transactions instead of having it all on Layer 1. This eases Layer 1’s load while also tapping into the fundamental core value of decentralization by having other parties do the work. This is vital for blockchain technology in general.
It is currently the most used approach to tackling scalability issues, especially for PoW networks.
There are many L1 blockchains that have integrated L2 solutions to help alleviate scalability loading. ThunderCore also has the potential of integrating any Ethereum tooling, including L2 solutions. In the future, we might see some upgrades to this blockchain giant as well.
Layer 3: Applications
Layer 3 is the cheese layer that tops the lasagna; the layer where toppings can be sprinkled.
This layer is what we call the application layer. It is where developers can set up the protocols needed to host dApps; the layer that sets up user-facing applications. Just like Layer 2 expands on Layer 1 to solve scalability issues, Layer 3 also helps scale scalability further and provides functionality that expands further on what Layer 2 is capable of.
With this application layer of protocols, dApps and other functionality features can be added, acting like extra toppings on top of the lasagna.
ThunderCore: A Layer 1 Giant with Layer 2 Potential
ThunderCore is one of the most prominent Layer 1 blockchain out there. But noting the issues mentioned within the article regarding Layer 1 issues, Thundercore is fully capable of adding Layer 2 solutions to counter them.
ThunderCore was founded in Silicon Valley in 2017 to provide a robust infrastructure for DApps and the broader DeFi ecosystem. Its high-performance blockchain offers a breakthrough consensus protocol PaLa, 4,000+ TPS, sub-second confirmation times, and low gas fees.
With over 8 million addresses, 680 million transactions, and 133 million block height on its network, ThunderCore is dedicated to bringing blockchain technology to broad adoption. You can learn more about ThunderCore’s historical information on our Medium Blog.
For more informational articles, please check out the ones on blockchain nodes and blockchain dApps. To explorer further on the layers of blockchain, we will look closely at some of the most prominent blockchain networks for each layer in our future posts!