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Blockchain technology has been orchestrating wonders since its inception years ago despite being on its way to mainstream adoption. Yet, problems exist within this evolving technology as network congestion has become commonplace. Solutions have come up addressing this issue in the form of layer-2 blockchain solutions that tap into some of layer-1 networks’ features. Numerous layer-2 solutions have been launched on existing networks to address this pressing issue. They are set to change how the global Web3 ecosystem will evolve from hereon. This guide from us focuses on layer-2 scaling solutions that provide a way for layer-1 blockchains to scale up.

Looking Deep into Layer-2 Blockchain Solutions

What are Layer-2 Blockchain Solutions?

Layer-2 blockchain solutions are sub-networks that help in increasing the scalability of main blockchain (Layer-1) networks. These are basically built upon existing blockchains that serve as the foundation for the current Web3 market. They offer enhanced scalability to the main network without compromising its security and robustness. A market report from L2Beats reflects that a total value locked (TVL) across layer-2 networks amounts to $10.37 billion.

With these solutions, the Web3 market can gain momentum toward its mission of achieving widespread adoption among the global population. Why? Because they aim to (and have achieved) enhance the transaction throughput of leading blockchains, which has been a checkmate for businesses wanting to build a huge community. After all, no business owner would want to have their users wait for long times and pay hefty costs just to process their trading transactions.

What Layer-2 Networks Do

Layer-2 networks act as a ramp promoting scalability to layer-1 blockchains that often encounter congestion and higher transaction costs. These networks employ various techniques to make the process smooth and efficient, which we will see further down this guide. But primarily, they aim to make blockchain technology accessible to everyone by reducing transaction costs and quickening block speeds.

They also emphasize making the user experience inside the blockchain space friendlier using Web2-like interfaces and easy-to-understand operational flows. From the outside, layer-2 solutions aim to make using blockchain-based apps look as easy as any other platform.

Current Trends in the Layer-2 Ecosystem

As more layer-2 solutions come into existence, each of them comes with a unique point that dictates the trends. Most solutions tend to focus on Ethereum and Bitcoin as they have been cited to have huge problems related to scalability.

A trend observed in the current age is providing interoperability between various layer-2 blockchains as more subnetworks evolve inside existing layer-1 blockchains. Also, offering easier user experiences in the form of intuitive and accessible wallets and other applications is another trend gaining momentum. Other trends include building business-specific layer-2 blockchains (or “appchains”) and increasing scalability to realize enterprise-grade applications.

Current Trends in the Layer-2 Ecosystem

For a long time, in this guide, we have been discussing about layer-1 and layer-2 solutions. While we have seen layer-2 solutions in detail, we have not explored layer-1 blockchains yet. A layer-1 blockchain serves as the foundational decentralized digital ledger that stores data in distributed nodes.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, Avalanche, BNB Chain, and Cardano are popular examples of layer-1 blockchains. Each of these networks has its own virtual ecosystems within which various applications coexist. Most of them have the ability to host smart contracts that allow crypto tokens and NFTs to be created alongside their own native crypto coins.

Comparing Layer-1 and Layer-2

Although layer-1 and layer-2 networks coexist, they differ vastly in terms of what they focus on and how they work. The points below show how they differ:

  • Layer-1 blockchains focus on offering data immutability and security, while layer-2 blockchains focus on scalability and throughput speeds.
  • Layer-1 networks prioritize decentralization, while layer-2 solutions focus on being flexible to support various business applications.
  • Despite having a higher level of safety, layer-1 solutions come with certain limitations, while layer-2 networks do not have any, nor do they compromise with layer-1 blockchains’ provisions.

Working of Layer-2 Scaling Solutions

Layer-2 scaling solutions ramp up the capacity of layer-1 blockchains using several processes. While doing so, they ensure that none of the layer-1 network’s capabilities are hampered despite staying on top of these blockchains. Irrespective of how they process transactions, they have their own native crypto coins that should be used to pay for transactions. We will see the different processes utilized by layer-2 blockchain solutions in the below sections.

Off-Chain Processing

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Secondary Protocols

Secondary protocols tap into additional programs built upon layer-1 blockchains in an attempt to enhance processing performance and lower associated costs. They have sophisticated smart contracts that tap into the main network’s robustness and security alongside custom-made solutions designed to boost transaction throughput. During the process, it is ensured that none of the layer-1 network’s capabilities are degraded.

Essential Features of Layer-2 Blockchains

  • Scalability

    Scalability enables layer-2 blockchain solutions to offer higher transaction throughput compared to existing layer-1 blockchain networks using specialized programs.

  • Cheap Costs

    Layer-2 networks often process transactions at a fraction of the cost incurred in layer-1 networks due to their usage of extra technological entities.

  • High Speeds

    Transaction validations are registered at a faster pace in layer-2 blockchains as they use scalable provisions to ramp up throughput.

  • Interoperability

    Layer-2 scaling networks work interoperably across numerous layer-1 and layer-2 blockchains, making it easy for people to access the vast digital ecosystem.

  • Military-Grade Security

    These blockchains are secured by the underlying layer-1 networks alongside special solutions that safeguard the actual layer-2 programs to ensure an optimal digital environment for users.

Pivotal Elements of Layer-2 Networks

  • Smart Contracts

    Sophisticated smart contracts in layer-2 networks empower all their functionalities, such as enforcing on-chain rules and validating transactions outside the blockchain using decentralized entities.

  • Validators/Relayers

    Validators or relayers (differs per network) are individuals who verify each transaction made off-chain before grouping them and registering them on the main blockchain.

  • Fraud Proofs

    Fraud proofs offer a way for the network to challenge the validity of transactions processed outside the blockchain, eliminating the possibility of breaches from malicious actors.

  • Interoperability

    Layer-2 scaling networks work interoperably across numerous layer-1 and layer-2 blockchains, making it easy for people to access the vast digital ecosystem.

  • Commit Chains

    Commit chains register a version of the entire layer-2 network on the main blockchain they are based on to ensure high-level data integrity and traceability.

Types of Layer-2 Blockchain Solutions

State Channels

State channels tap into both on-chain and off-chain transactions to register data on the blockchain. The usual process is as follows: A user conducts an initial transaction; they then execute multiple off-chain transactions; finally, they update the data on the blockchain by settling a final transaction.

This type of layer-2 scaling solution offers a distinctive advantage – transaction fees will only be levied twice: one while initializing the transaction and one while closing the transaction. They are also instantaneous as the channels can only be accessed by the persons connected by the two-way communication channel. Utilizing off-chain transactions also enhances privacy, as only the opening and closing processes are registered publicly.

Zero-Knowledge (ZK) Rollups

Zero-Knowledge (ZK) rollups are the latest innovation to hit the layer-2 ecosystem running. They use a cryptographic proof system known as Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge (zk-SNARKS) to validate transactions without revealing specific information. They use off-chain protocols to process transactions that help in storing compressed data on-chain. Hence, gas costs are kept minimal.

Such a sophisticated mechanism offers extraordinary levels of safety and integrity to data as the exact data present in the transactions would not be revealed to the public. Zero-knowledge proofs have become sensational in recent times as Ethereum encountered unbearable congestion rates and spiked gas.

Optimistic Rollups

Optimistic rollups have gained momentum in recent times as they focused on quickening the Ethereum network’s functional efficiency. These work partly similar to zero-knowledge rollups by processing transactions off-chain. Where they shine apart is that they assume all transactions are honest without the need for an external entity to verify them.

But that does not mean all transactions (even the dangerous ones) go undetected. There will be verification if a transaction encounters a challenge from anyone in the community within a predefined period of time. Since they are compatible with existing smart contracts written for Ethereum, businesses planning to migrate to such networks can achieve it easily.


Plasma utilizes a series of smart contracts branching out from the Ethereum mainnet to process transactions independently and submit periodic reports to the main network. A protocol called Merkle Tree is used in the process to store data securely on Plasma layer-2 networks. Their presence inside the Ethereum network allows funds to be transferred from these sub-networks to the Ethereum mainnet, which promotes security and data accessibility.

These sub-networks can process thousands of transactions at a time, effectively decongesting Ethereum’s main blockchain creating an integrated environment for everyday digital businesses to thrive. This also leads to block confirmation times becoming smaller and faster.

Examples of Layer-2 Networks on Popular Blockchains

  • Bitcoin Lightning Network

    The Lightning Network serves as a layer-2 scaling solution to the Bitcoin blockchain by offering the capability to create smart contracts and process transactions quickly.

  • Polygon (Formerly Matic Network)

    Polygon uses a multi-chain EVM-compatible solution to process transactions and create interoperable and scalable applications.

  • Starkware

    Ethereum-based Starkware operates on zk-STARK, an advanced cryptographic protocol that enhances scalability and privacy for transactions

  • Optimism

    Optimism taps into the concept of optimistic rollups on Ethereum to provide almost-instantaneous transaction confirmations and smart contract executions.

  • Arbitrum

    Arbitrum also uses optimistic rollups with a variation where users need to trust at least one validator to ensure the system operates correctly.

  • Aztec

    Aztec uses zk-SNARKS to primarily boost privacy on the Ethereum network by verifying data without exposing all details.

  • POA Network

    The POA Network uses the Proof-of-Authority (PoA) protocol inside Ethereum to process transactions using known validators, speeding up transactions.

  • Loopring Network

    The Loopring Network uses zk-Rollups to process transactions inside its namesake DEX by batching multiple trades into a single transaction, reducing gas fees.

  • SKALE Network

    The SKALE Network aids Ethereum-based DApps to become scalable using modular sidechains that are custom-built per business requirements.

  • ZKSync

    ZKSync uses zk-Rollups to process multiple transactions under one batch while focusing on private and scalable solutions for users and developers alike.

How Can Layer-2 Scaling Solutions Elevate Your Venture?

If you are enthusiastic about setting up a blockchain-based business, utilizing layer-2 blockchain solutions might provide you the much-needed kickstart. These networks benefit businesses in multiple ways, ranging from reduced expenses for processing transactions to flexible provisions to fit unique business requirements.

Apart from this, layer-2 blockchains offer enhanced prospects for decentralization, security, flexibility, and innovation. Some of these are inherited from underlying layer-1 networks, while others are custom-built for specific blockchains. From a business perspective, layer-2 blockchains can offer a leeway to bypass the hectic centerstage networks while continuing to enjoy the benefits they offer.

Guidelines for Using Layer-2 Scaling Solutions

How to Tap into Layer-2 Blockchain Networks?

Layer-2 blockchains have proven to be a valuable alternative for businesses trying to access the larger blockchain community. These are a few ways to ensure you capture their attention.

  1. Research and Choose Before using a layer-2 blockchain network, you should first research and analyze the available options in the market. Choose the one that best fits your business requirements.
  2. Integrate with the Network Build your business application and integrate it with the layer-2 scaling solution you had chosen. This can be done using the network’s developer tools that help in creating smart contracts.
  3. Spread User AwarenessCreate various informative content forms on your business application, such as guides, FAQs, and tutorials. These can help your users to transition to the particular layer-2 ecosystem smoothly.
  4. Monitor and Optimize Continuously monitor the performance of your application on the layer-2 blockchain. Implement necessary upgrades to the platform whenever essential to stay updated with the latest market trends.
  5. Be Updated The environment surrounding the layer-2 ecosystem is evolving rapidly, and new implementations have become commonplace. Stay updated with the latest innovations and consider including them if they offer utilities.
  6. Engage with the Community With time, ensure the creation of valuable bonds with communities related to layer-2 blockchains to gain insights. Information can be used to resolve errors and enhance app performance.

Ways to Gain Success Using Layer-2 Blockchains

  • Focus on Users While using layer-2 blockchains, ensure your business application is friendly to users with all levels of technical knowledge.
  • Opt for Multiple Chains Instead of using one layer-2 network, consider going with multiple solutions for better business prospects and market appeal.
  • Security ProvisionsImplement top-grade security protocols to ensure your blockchain business app is safeguarded against all sorts of unsavory cyberattacks.
  • Business Collaborations Collaborate with fellow businesses in the layer-2 ecosystem you are using. Doing so will enhance your brand image and build a greater market appeal.
  • Utilize User Feedback Create an environment where your users can offer feedback on the application’s performance. Implement changes that could improve your venture better.
  • Continuous Learning Implement meticulous learning systems for your team to make themselves accustomed to the technicalities and advancements around layer-2 blockchain technology.
  • Have Backup PlansBe prepared with adequate plans to face unprecedented situations such as technical migrations, adopting new business trends, and troubleshooting in-app issues.
  • Speak about Benefits While using a layer-2 blockchain, be sure to speak about its benefits that power your business to your community so that you can gain increased trust.
  • Stay Active With rapid changes becoming common in the blockchain space, be ready to stay with the latest trends in terms of business, technology, marketing, and community management.

What Does the Future Hold for These Networks?

In today’s blockchain space, many layer-2 scaling solutions have evolved primarily on Ethereum and some on Bitcoin. Several of these have gained popularity among businesses with their versatile features and business partnerships. The future for these networks is set to be even brighter as more businesses utilize them to reach the wider market.

Why Should You Hire Our Expert Layer-2 Blockchain Development Company?

If you are planning to build a layer-2 blockchain or tap into layer-2 scaling solutions for business, you can utilize our services. With our expertise in layer-2 blockchain development, you can access state-of-the-art technology to build the foundation of your business. From conceptualization and documentation to implementation and continuous maintenance, we enable your venture to set new heights in the layer-2 ecosystem.


Layer-2 blockchain solutions are not a passing fad in the technological space as they have set the foundation for heightened growth for businesses. With these networks gaining momentum, more projects plan to either create their own blockchains or tap into existing networks. This is the right time if you want to explore the evolving realm of layer-2 networks as a business. With Blockchain App Factory’s exquisite provisions, you can have the luxury of working with some of the industry’s best minds, resulting in the best solutions for your venture.

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