Layer 0 Protocols: The Key to Scaling Crypto for the Masses

in #bitcoin5 years ago


Let’s start off with a simple introduction of blockchain layers. Layer 1 is the actual blockchain. The Bitcoin chain, Ethereum chain, or Ripple chain are layer 1 protocols and are often referred to as the ‘main-chain’. Layer 0 is the protocol that runs under the blockchain. It isn’t visible to the naked eye, but it serves it purpose. Layer 2 is a protocol built on top of the main-chain. It creates infrastructure people can use to transact on the blockchain without interfacing layer 1.

Screenshot 2019-05-09 at 5.05.26 PM.png

Think of it in terms of clothing. Layer 1 is your shirt, it’s the main-chain of your outfit. Layer 0 is the undershirt – it keeps you warm but nobody can really see it doing its job. Layer 2 is a jacket – people see your jacket and to the naked eye, you are just wearing a jacket. They don’t realize it’s just an added layer to help keep you even warmer.


Why does this matter? It matters because in a world where functionality is the most significant things, protocols running underneath or on top of the main chain can add a new dimension of function to make the entire blockchain substantially more efficient.

Layer 0 Protocol: bloXroute


A block propagation startup called bloXroute is preparing to set the standard for 0 layer scalability. The software being developed by Emin Gun Sirer and the bloXroute team is being proposed for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum. The effect this could have is phenomenal to even think about. Before I get into the numbers of what it can, a qualitative explanation is due.

In its essence, bloXroute propagates blocks on the main-chain through a trustless distribution network. Pseudo-centralized chains like EOS and Ripple, that trade pure trustless code in return for increased functionality, have shown us we can scale transactions by an exponential amount by putting the fate of the network into a select few hands. EOS claims to have hit 4,000 transactions per second (TPS), Ripple has consistently done around 1500-2000 TPS. At the same time, more decentralized networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum manage 4 and 15 TPS respectively. The trade-off between decentralization and functionality seems to be all too real. But bloXroute is changing all of that.

The general idea here is to reverse this trust by inverting the direction EOS and Ripple take. While EOS functions by trusting only 21 block producers (who have offered incentives to people voting for them in first place), bloXroute aims to have a few servers/nodes that trusts the entire network. It utilizes a Blockchain Distribution Network (BDN). While other BDN’s exist, bloXroute is the first decentralized BDN to come into the picture. The BDN blindly trusts nodes and does not discriminate any transactions. In fact, bloXroute the company have no control over the BDN - they merely designed it. By default, as a layer 0 protocol, it merely adopts the network as it is. Since it accepts everything as it happens on layer 1, it offers no added security to the chain. If a malicious transactions manages to make its way through the main-chain, bloXroute (and any other layer 0) will accept it just as the network did. The pure motive here is to scale.

The propagation by bloXroute scales the network by removing data from the blocks and instead assigning it a special ID. “But wait, no information on the blocks? Is that safe? How do we verify previous transactions and look up data for blocks”? It is able to remove the data by storing it on a distributed ledger also called a relay mechanism. You can go back into the chain and find all relevant data (block headers, hash, and transaction data) by going into the relay-based chain. The BDN, which is the relay network, holds all transactions and relays it to nodes as and when they call for it. By doing this, bloXroute has claimed to be able to reduce the size of each transaction 100 times.


The constraint today is that each transactions is about 470-540 bytes in size. Bitcoin has an average of a 1.2 – 1.4 MB block limit while Bitcoin Cash blocks are about 8 MB. Let’s see just how much this affects scalability in both chains. For this, we will assume Bitcoin has a 1.4 MB block and 470 byte transactions; and Bitcoin Cash has an 8 MB block and the same 470 byte transactions. If bloXroute was implemented, each transaction would be lowered to 4.7 bytes.
• Currently, Bitcoin has space for 2478 transactions per block, which is 5 TPS. Bitcoin Cash has space for 17,021 transactions per block, which is 28 TPS.
• If we implement bloXroute and transactions are lowered to 4.7 bytes, Bitcoin would have space for 297,000 transactions per block, which is 496 TPS. In Bitcoin Cash, it would lead to 1.7 million transactions per block, which is 2836 TPS.
• Bitcoin Cash is open to radically increasing block size in order to keep fees low and the mempool small. In the event of global adoption, if BCH was to both implement bloXroute and increase the block size to 32 MB, it would have space for 6.81 million transactions per block, which is a whopping 11,347 TPS.

Final Analysis

The outcome from this shows the potential for scalability within layer 0 protocols. While they have the drawback of not providing extra security, it is a negligible drawback. Security completely stems from protocol on layer 1. With or without layer 0, the security would be the same. But layer 0 is able to add an astounding level of scalability which could see the networks become 100x more efficient than they currently are.

Layer 0 is the opposite of Batman – it’s the hero crypto doesn’t deserve, but the one it needs. In order for cryptocurrency to set foot in the same space as payment processors like Visa and MasterCard, it undeniably has to scale to a great level. Layer 0’s are the ideal solution in order to protect the integrity of the blockchain and simultaneously keep it useful and efficient.

  • AB

ReverseAcid Monthly Recap

Crypto Analysis Series

Previous Posts

About Reverse Acid

Be a part of our Discord community to engage in related topic conversation.

Follow our Instagram and Twitter page for timely market updates


Stop spamming me with your memos

Noted, you won't receive any more. Apologies for any inconvenience @justtryme90

Posted using Partiko Android

That's a way to deal with people @reverseacid

Polite, with manners.

Thank you. Much obliged.

I will also ensure not to send you any memos in the future @justtryme90


Thank you as well.

I want to give thoughts about it but for now I don't understand blockchain fully yet. I'm still learning on it but to offer my help, I'll upvoted it and resteemed also

Posted using Partiko Android

I have the feeling that for transparency purposes is better to improve scalability at layer 0 than layer 2.

I guess that in layer 0 transactions are recorded in the main net. the story seems to be different with Lightning network because it look likes transactions are not recorded in mainnet. For me LN is a layer 2.

100% @danielelfs

In a few days we'll be publishing a post on layer 2 with focus on LN.

LN or any layer 2 based transactions slowly make their way to the mainnet. Layer 2 builds its own model of consensus, which is the smart contract locks on LN. The problem is if you scale above the chain, but not the chain itself, when the time comes to close a large LN channel you will clog the mempool and send fees into an upward spiral.

Posted using Partiko Android

Always a pleasure to receive your memo and read a nice post :)
Keep up the good work guys

Thank you @mcnestler

We really appreciate your support!

Posted using Partiko Android

Dear @reverseacid i always love to recv memo of those kind great informative Article, onece again i got another brief on Blockchain layers.. Once again i feel very confidence and onformative about blockchain layers.. Thanks a lot for sending me memo with the link of this great airticle.. I just love those kind topics very much.. Because i just love know new thing and love to gather new exprience for my life.. Have a very great time..

Posted using Partiko Android

Thanks for the comment and your support @shadonchandra

Posted using Partiko Android

Thanks for bringing my attention to this Layer 0 protocol. Found it intriguing.

As I was reading it I started thinking about Layer 2 Lightning Network and how that also has been mooted to solve the scalability problem.

The similarities and differences between the two and how they could together make the blockchain transactions formidable and stupendous, surpassing Visa's average speed of 24000 TPS, by perhaps several order of magnitudes, should make an interesting story for another blog post.

Very interesting that you said that @devann

I covered both layer 0 and layer 2 but it turned out to be too big for one post. Layer 2 post will be published soon as well.

But to be honest I'm biased to layer 0 simply because it doesn't change any rules on the chain. Consensus is done the same way and its applicability is something like a more efficient version of SegWit. Keep an eye on our blog for the layer 2 post!

Posted using Partiko Android

I appreciate your memos in my wallet and although this topic is a bit beyond my current knowledge it is very well explained and I'm looking forward to following some of the other links to articles, starting with the one about BAT

It would certainly change the way transactions are done and recorded on a blockchain. concept of layer 0 protocol is very cool and feasible. Can it also affect Steem blockchain? If yes, what would be the transaction rates on Steem blockchain after implementation of this technology?

Hi @reverseacid!

This post is heavy, man!

A higher level of understanding is necessary to understand a little of this. I know that network systems can be divided into layers, the OSI model is divided into layers, and layer 1 (the lowest layer) is the physical layer, which deals with the transmission of bytes and electrical schematics.

From that point of view, I understand a little.

However, where are the consensus methods in all this? PoW and PoS? There is a speed limit for PoW. And safety or security issues? What about fake blocks?

Another question, the data is stored in another (relay-based) chain. I don't understand how the information is reduced if the same information is going to be in another chain. I don't really see the reduction.

Are these just proposals to improve scalability or have they already been implemented?

I still see blockchain as witchcraft!

Great questions @jadams2k18

So layer 0 is about to go live on Bitcoin Cash, sometime this May. There's no issue of PoW and PoS as it just works on reducing tx size on the main blockchain.

Now the relay chain has all the information but the thing is you only download what you need from there. It's kind of server based, we don't need to download it. So it's a very weird concept to explain. Like a single server than can be distributed as and when necessary. The software is agnostic to everything. It cannot be controlled or centralised by bloXroute the company.

Posted using Partiko Android

The relay chain is like IPFS (InterPlanetary File System)??

It seems quite like it

it Looks is ........
Its approach seems to be to establish a spatial node,
This node is located between layer 0 and layer 1.
It moves part of the data to that node,
In turn saving block exchange time.

It's not been 0 and 1; it is the 0. As the only protocol running under the blockchain it is the only functioning layer 0. It use a distribution network to act as an information relayer. It doesn't disturb the network but only reduces tx size for scaling.

Posted using Partiko Android

Nice post friend @reverseacid
Very informative and educative. Kudos

Thanks for your support! @adewararilwan

Posted using Partiko Android

Congratulations @reverseacid! You have completed the following achievement on the Steem blockchain and have been rewarded with new badge(s) :

You made more than 7000 upvotes. Your next target is to reach 8000 upvotes.

You can view your badges on your Steem Board and compare to others on the Steem Ranking
If you no longer want to receive notifications, reply to this comment with the word STOP

To support your work, I also upvoted your post!

Do not miss the last post from @steemitboard:

SteemitBoard - Witness Update

You can upvote this notification to help all Steem users. Learn how here!

hi @reverseacid I think Btc, ethreum and eos are both crypto worlds and about how to do it I think it depends on the users

Posted using Partiko Android

Absolutely @anitacarolina

Use case varies from user to user and they will use platforms they find important. But Bitcoin and payments are fundamental to crypto so this in essence applies to everyone

Posted using Partiko Android

I love to see how responsive you are @reverseacid :)

Thanks for your memo. I liked the way you explained it and share your post.

Posted using Partiko Android

Hello @reverseacid

Ok, I understood it better, so layer 0 is a kent clark, which is a superman with or without a layer.

My reminder is the 7-layer network model, all always forget that layer 1 is the most important. Layer 1: physics

It's like you say who makes the difference but what they need is scalability.

Excellent explanation very easy to understand
Thank you

Dear @reverseacid,

Thank you for your memo. First of all, I think that having the layer 0 as an additional security is great but, is there a measurable way in which one can show that it could "compete" with the mastercard/cashless transactions out there?

Good subject, @reverseacid
I liked it a lot as you explained with the example of the clothes, it was understood very well.
Thanks for posting.

This is a great tool for the crypto industry. I hope the team really come out with this project because i have seen great ideas which have been dumped with time. Hopefully we can see this come alive.

Your friend,