Investing in cryptocurrency is as much of a risk as investing in stocks and bonds. To make the right choice, you need to be aware of the stable and growing platforms in the market. This article takes you through the top layer 1 blockchain platforms to look out for in 2023

What Is Layer 1 Blockchain?

Blockchain Layers
Source: Mattcha

Layer 1, also commonly known as a smart contract platform, is the foundation of any cryptocurrency platform based on blockchain technology.

They are often the pillars of many decentralized applications (dapps) built on these platforms. It is the top layer responsible for maintaining a secure blockchain platform through encryption and decentralization. 

Types of Layer 1 Blockchain Solutions

To have a perfect layer 1 crypto platform, it must meet three main criteria. These include decentralization, security, and scalability. This is difficult, and most often, you may find the best platform with two out of three, hence the “Blockchain Trilemma.” 

Usually, scalability starts going down as a platform keeps growing. So, it can’t handle the growing number of transactions and nodes in the ecosystem. Therefore, this increases transaction costs, leading to the migration of users to other layer 1 platforms.

To stop this from happening, you can use layer 1 scaling solutions to change the blockchain itself, making it faster and able to handle more transactions. Some common solutions include:

Consensus Protocol

These terms refer to the ways that users agree on how new blocks should be added to the blockchain. There are the Proof of Stake (PoS) and Proof of Work (PoW) mechanisms. 

  • Proof of Work (PoW)

Bitcoin is a platform that uses this consensus protocol. It is secure and relies on miners to authenticate transactions through cryptography. Basically, a miner needs to solve a complex mathematical problem to validate a group of transactions.

Their reward is cryptocurrency. However, according to Forbes Advisor, it is slow and requires a lot of electricity and resources.

  • Proof of Stake (PoS)

This is a better alternative as you need fewer computing resources. Furthermore, it doesn’t use too much electricity. It uses the number of tokens staked or locked up as collateral to choose its validators.

The method discourages fraud as validators will lose their tokens if found out. Furthermore, validators earn based on the reward attached to the transaction. It is faster and more efficient. An example is Cosmos and Ethereum 2.0.


It is the most common way for layer 1 blockchain platforms to scale right now. The blockchain data is broken into sets called shards. Both sets are being worked on at the same time, but they don’t interfere with each other.

The breakdown of data increases the rate of processing as each node (validator) gets a different shard allocation. Once done, each shard sends proof to the mainchain, and they use intercommunication protocols to share data. 

An example of a platform that uses this is Ethereum 2.0. The main benefit is the limitless scalability because of the storage and throughput increases.

The Difference Between Layer 1 vs Layer 2

The main difference between layer 1 and layer 2 is the number of layers and their function. In layer 1, the systems are built on the blockchain itself to perform functions like transacting. An example is Bitcoin.

However, in layer 2, it is built on top of layer 1 mostly to improve scalability. With layer 2, you get higher speeds and faster transactions. The transactions take place independently of layer 1 and thus reduce its load. This enhances security. Examples are Aritrum and Polygon on Ethereum.

Top Layer 1 Blockchain Platforms List in 2023

In trying to avoid the Blockchain Trilemma, there is a fierce battle between smart contract platforms to offer the best blockchain facilities for users. Below are the top 10 layer 1 blockchain platforms.

1. Ethereum
Ethereum- Layer 1 Blockchain

Ethereum was first released in July 2015 as the first smart contract ecosystem in the market. Even though it has trouble scaling, it has kept a large market cap lead over its competitors since it came out. 

Currently, it has a market cap of more than three times that of its nearest competitor. It’s also the most secure and decentralized platform. Their large number of geographically spread nodes makes this possible. 

To counter its scaling problems and high transaction fees, Ethereum has released an upgrade with Merge. In this update, it uses PoS One to try to speed things up and get more done. 

Furthermore, this layer 1 platform offers the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This software is useful in the creation of dapps on Ethereum. Other layer 1 crypto platforms have made their ecosystems EVM compatible. 

This means that they can use the same code as Ethereum, which makes it easier for dapps to be shared across platforms. 

2. Binance Smart Chain
2 In Tiop 10 Layer 1 Blockchain

This is the second most popular layer 1 ecosystem. While it excels in scalability and security, it has weak decentralization. Its centralization is due to its reliance on the parent company, Binance, which controls the transactions on the platform.

However, this hasn’t affected its growth, and as of October 2022, it has a market cap of slightly above 40 billion USD. Another reason for this growth is that transactions can be made quickly and safely without worrying about high fees. 

In addition, this platform is EVM-compatible. As such, some investors love it as it succeeds where Ethereum fails.

3. Cardano
Cardano- Top 10 Layer 1 Blockchain

On the list of layer 1 blockchains, Cardano is a popular option, especially as an alternative to Ethereum. Since Ethereum’s main problems are scalability, Cardano offers efficient and quick transactions at a very fast rate. 

Interestingly, its release was by a co-founder of Ethereum, Charles Hoskinson. Furthermore, it is an environmentally friendly program with the unique architecture of two layers. Through Cardano, blockchain organization tools such as Atala SCAN are more accessible.

Another quality that makes it stand out is the use of science and research evidence in its technology. As of October 2022, it is the third largest layer 1 platform by market cap.

4. Solana
Solana - Top 10 Layer 1 Blockchain

This layer 1 crypto platform is popular because of its strong and thriving ecosystem. Compared to Ethereum, it is more scalable and has higher security. However, Ethereum boasts better decentralization.

The powerful platform attracts users with its high rate of over 3,000 transactions per second. The Proof-of-History system supports this as it automatically allows transaction orders. Furthermore, it offers users low transaction costs.

In the past, it has had problems with the network, which saw it drop its position as the third-largest crypto platform in November 2021. However, the team continues to release updates to combat these problems. Therefore, it is still a great long-term investment.

5. Polkadot
Polkadot- Top 10 Layer 1 Blockchain

Polkadot’s design is a blockchain network that supports parallel chains, or “parachains,” for short. These are joined by project-distinct sub-chains that form the heart of the network. Therefore, several projects can be built on the base of the Polkadot blockchain to exchange data.

The release in May 2020 was by another co-founder of Ethereum, Gavin Wood. Since then, it has had massive growth, making it the fifth smart contract platform by market cap as of October 2022. The platform attracts developers through a shared security structure. Therefore, this reduces the need for validators and nodes for extra security.

6. Avalanche
Avalanche- Top 10 Layer 1 Blockchain

Avalanche was released as an open-source cryptocurrency platform to support decentralized financial applications (DeFi). Furthermore, it can support blockchain deployments for enterprises. This is all made possible by a scalable and interoperable ecosystem.

This layer 1 crypto has the fastest rate at which transactions are completed, which makes it easier to use. It can also handle more than 4,500 transactions per second and has a low base fee for each transaction.

This layer 1 crypto has the fastest rate at which transactions are completed, which makes it easier to use. Consequently, it is considered to be a “platform of platforms.”

7. Cosmos
Cosmos- Top 10 Layer 1 Blockchain

It’s a powerful platform on the layer 1 blockchain list that lets many blockchain ecosystems work together. Gaia, which is also known as the Cosmos Hub, is a Proof of Stake system that provides routing in the Cosmos network.

Its technology is used by other layer 1 crypto platforms like Binance and Terra because of its high security and scalability. Furthermore, it is EVM-compatible, making it interoperable with other platforms like Ethereum. 

The main aim of this platform is to decentralize finance. Therefore, it is a great option for investors who want to avoid the challenges of Ethereum. 

8. NEAR Protocol
Near Protocol

The creation and release of this protocol were in April 2020 by the NEAR Foundation. Since then, it has grown rapidly, making it one of the top 10 layer 1 blockchain platforms by market cap as of October 2022. 

It aims to be a leader in Web stacking. So, it uses Web3, which is an online ecosystem built around a blockchain and centered on decentralization. This system is more personalized, intuitive, and highly secure. 

Furthermore, it provides high scalability through sharding and fast transactions by offering low costs. It is an attractive choice for investors as it has a good growth margin and unique features. 

9. Algorand
Algorand- Top 10 Layer 1 Blockchain

Algorand came out in 2017, and uses the Pure Proof of Stake system to ensure high security levels. It holds esteem as one of the most secure Proof of Stake platforms. The validators undergo random selection, and the basis isn’t the amount staked.

Because of the way it is built, Algorand can handle more than 1,000 transactions per second. It has tiers, with the second tier supporting complicated transactions and dapps, while the first provides simple transactions and new tokens.

Furthermore, it also has other attractive features, such as total decentralization, a skilled development team, and high staking rewards. Therefore, it is a great choice if you want to make a passive income.

10. Flow

Flow is a project released to the public by Dappa Labs in October 2020. The creators wanted to move away from Ethereum because of its sharding scalability method. It was too complex.

Therefore, they came up with a multi-tier architecture decentralized platform that uses HotStuff, a Proof of Stake mechanism. Flow is a Web3 smart contract platform that offers incredible speeds and ease of use without the use of layer 2 or sharding.

Furthermore, it is the most environmentally friendly layer 1 crypto as it has reduced its carbon footprint to less than that of posting online. To support scalability at a higher level, it uses Cadence, which is an upgradable programming and design tool.

Where to Buy the Best Layer 1 Crypto Projects

With the knowledge of the best layer 1 platforms in the market, you now have the wisdom to invest well. The best place to buy these cryptocurrencies is on platforms like Binance and Coinbase.

  • Binance is a credible cryptocurrency exchange platform that offers over 600 tokens and cryptocurrencies. It also offers a secure crypto wallet for your funds. Furthermore, there are programs to help you make investment decisions and earn interest on your funds.
  • Coinbase is another cryptocurrency exchange platform that provides a safe and easy experience when trading. Therefore, it is great for beginners and those still learning about cryptocurrency. In addition, it also offers opportunities to earn more currency.

To get started, you can download the apps from their official websites. Alternatively, you can get the apps on the IOS App Store or Google Play. You need your email address to create an account. Once you set your password and add funds, you are free to trade.

However, keep in mind that both applications require you to be over 18 years old. Therefore, you will need to have proof of your age when setting up.


Ethereum still holds the number one spot in the top 10 layer 1 blockchain platforms. However, because of scalability issues and high transaction costs, it remains to be seen whether this will hold. The new Ethereum 2.0 is expected to solve these issues and bring back users.

All in all, there are other fantastic contenders on this list that are already using the PoS system for faster speeds and at lower costs. Therefore, it is a tough call to make on who will remain at the top. 

However, as an investor, keeping an eye on these smart contract platforms can help you know when to trade and when to stake. 

All in all, there are other fantastic contenders on this list that are already using the PoS system for faster speeds and at lower costs. Therefore, it is a tough call to make on who will remain at the top. 

However, as an investor, keeping an eye on these smart contract platforms can help you know when to trade and when to stake