Layer 1 solutions refer to the base level of blockchain architecture, encompassing the core blockchain network and its underlying protocol. These solutions directly improve the foundational blockchain itself to enhance scalability, security, and decentralization. Examples of Layer 1 blockchains include Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other primary networks on which dApps and smart contracts are built.

Limitations of Layer 1 Solutions

Despite the important foundational role of Layer 1 solutions, there are several challenges and limitations with their widespread use. These include:


Many Layer 1 blockchains, especially earlier ones like Bitcoin and Ethereum (before its ongoing upgrades), struggle with scalability. They can process only a limited number of transactions per second (TPS), leading to congestion and higher transaction fees during peak times. Scalability issues limit the blockchain's ability to support large-scale applications and widespread adoption, as transactions can become slow and costly.

Environmental Impact and Energy Consumption

Blockchains that use Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanisms, like Bitcoin, require significant computational power to secure the network and validate transactions. This leads to high energy consumption, which has environmental and economic implications, bringing criticism to Web3 development.

Network Congestion

Due to the limited number of TPS permitted on Layer 1 chains, congestion can build up, resulting in slower transaction times and increased transaction fees, as users bid higher to have their transactions processed faster. High fees and slow transactions degrade user experience, making the blockchain less attractive for everyday transactions and small-value transfers.


Many Layer 1 blockchains operate in silos, with limited ability to interact with other blockchains. This lack of interoperability hinders the seamless exchange of assets and information across different blockchain networks.


To address common challenges such as network congestion and high transaction fees, Layer 1 solutions employ various strategies. These include increasing block size, improving consensus mechanisms (e.g., transitioning from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake), and implementing sharding (dividing the network into smaller, manageable pieces for processing transactions and validations more efficiently). Other solutions include the development of Layer 2 scaling solutions and interoperability protocols (cross-chain bridges).

Despite these challenges, ongoing innovations and improvements in blockchain technology continue to address the limitations of Layer 1 solutions, paving the way for more scalable, efficient, and interoperable blockchain networks.

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