A layer-1 network is the base network of a blockchain and the architecture it uses to achieve decentralization, scalability, and security. As the use cases for blockchain expand, there is a need to scale blockchain throughput, and this is measured in terms of transactions per second. The layer-1 solutions usually implemented to improve scalability are sharding, increasing block sizes, and changing consensus mechanisms. Ethereum, a layer-1 network, is transitioning to proof-of-stake (PoS) to increase its transaction speed.
There are also layer-2 solutions that are used to complement layer-1 networks. For example, Bitcoin is a layer-1 blockchain, while Bitcoin Lightning, a solution used to increase Bitcoin’s throughput, is a layer-2 solution.
A layer-1 blockchain is the base protocol that validates transactions without the need for another layer or network. Some of the popular layer-1 networks are Ethereum, Litecoin, BNB Chain, and Avalanche. Layer-1 blockchains usually have native tokens.