Cardano is founded by Charles Hoskinson, who used to work on the Ethereum project but then branched off to create his own project.
Cardano is very similar to Ethereum in the sense that people can build applications on top of Cardano. The big difference with Cardano is that unlike ETH and BTC which are PoW-based, Cardano uses a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus in order to validate transactions.
The PoS mechanism allows Cardano to be much more energy-friendly and scalable compared to PoW blockchains like BTC or ETH. The downside of Cardano is its complex programming structure for building applications (you need to learn the Plutus platform and the Marlowe DSL language), as well as its somewhat slow transaction speeds compared to other protocols out there.
Don’t miss the new kids on the crypto block: Cardano, Solana and Polygon.
Solana uses the Proof of History (PoH) consensus to validate transactions. PoH is similar to PoS, but relies on timestamps to validate transactions as well. This gives Solana the capacity to handle a large number of transactions per second, much more than any other L1 blockchain in this list. Solana can process 50,000 transactions per second, which is a big difference compared to Cardano’s 250 transactions per second and Ethereum’s 30 transactions per second.
People can develop applications on top of Solana by using the Rust programming language. Since Solana uses PoH, it delivers extremely cheap and fast transactions, as well as uses much less energy compared to other PoW blockchains.
This might be why Solana is starting to host more and more NFT projects over time: people may not want to deal with the high fees paid on Ethereum when minting (and collecting) NFTs.
Solana’s downside is that it experiences many outages and to some degree is more centralized than purely decentralized protocols like BTC and ETH. So, although it is usually speedier, the somewhat frequent outages mean that there are times when nobody can generate a transaction on the Solana blockchain.
What’s the difference between Polygon and Solana? Read On.
Polkadot was founded by Gavin Wood, and hopes to someday become the “internet of blockchains”. It achieves this by having many independent blockchains, called parachains, be interconnected through Polkadot’s base layer, the relay chain.
Overall, Polkadot is complicated to understand, but its main purpose is to seamlessly interconnect multiple independent blockchains. Polkadot uses the PoS consensus, so it does not use a lot of energy compared to BTC and ETH.
The downside of Polkadot’s network is that its parachain model is quite costly, and does not allow innovation from very small teams. Every parachain goes through an auction, which is expensive and means that successful developers cannot surface from anywhere. This hinders true borderless innovation.
Avalanche uses a PoS to validate transactions. The big difference between ADA and AVAX is that it is EVM-compatible. This means that the code of an application that is deployed on Ethereum can also be used to deploy the application on AVAX.
Just like with Binance Smart Chain, AVAX benefits from faster and cheaper transaction fees compared to Ethereum. The big difference between AVAX and BNB is that AVAX is considered a little bit more decentralized, as anyone can open a node and secure the network, unlike BNB.
The Bottom Line
There you have it, an overview of some of the top L1 blockchains! More L1 blockchains are constantly being released, so this list may very well be obsolete in the next five years.
Understanding the underlying architecture of an L1 is very important for developers so that they can build their applications on the blockchain that fits best. There are many factors to consider when deciding which blockchain to build on: speed of transactions, fees, liquidity, programming language, and more.
Each L1 blockchain has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it could be useful to understand how each L1 blockchain fits in the greater cryptocurrency and blockchain industry.