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News/Unveiling Layer 2 Crypto: Optimistic Rollups vs ZK Rollups and the Ultimate Layer 2 Crypto List

Unveiling Layer 2 Crypto: Optimistic Rollups vs ZK Rollups and the Ultimate Layer 2 Crypto List

Apr 17 2023

last year4 minutes read

Layer 2 Crypto Exploration: From Optimistic Rollups to ZK Rollups and Top Layer 2 Coins

Written by Van - Perfected by ChatGPT


Cryptocurrencies are growing in complexity and utility, particularly with the rise of Layer 2 blockchain solutions. So, what are these innovative Layer 2 solutions like Optimistic rollups and ZK rollups that everyone talks about? Let's dive in and uncover the best Layer 2 crypto coins out there.

Grasping Layer 1 and Layer 2 Blockchain: The Core Differences

Second-layer solutions, commonly known as Layer 2 blockchains, enhance existing blockchains (Layer 1) by improving scalability and speed. By moving transactions from the main chain, Layer 2 solutions create more efficient, less congested networks.

The primary difference between Layer 1 and Layer 2 blockchains is transaction processing. Layer 1 blockchains process all transactions on the main chain, while Layer 2 solutions use off-chain methods for more efficient transaction handling. They're a valuable addition to the crypto sphere..

Layer 2 Crypto List: ZK Rollups, Optimistic Rollups, and More Unraveled

The Layer 2 blockchain world brings an array of technologies to tackle Layer 1 blockchain restrictions. Among these Layer 2 solutions are ZK rollups, zkEVM, Optimistic rollups, State channels, Plasma, Validium, Sidechains, and Hybrid solutions. Each one, whether it's zk rollups or optimistic rollups, serves a unique purpose in the Layer 2 crypto ecosystem.

  • ZK Rollups: One of the most popular Layer 2 solutions, ZK rollups rely on zero-knowledge proofs to bundle multiple transactions off-chain and then submit a compressed proof to the main chain. This technique significantly reduces the transaction load on the main chain, leading to faster and cheaper transactions. ZK rollups also offer greater security and data availability compared to other Layer 2 solutions.
  • zkEVM: zkEVM is a zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine that generates zero-knowledge proofs to verify the correctness of programs. It is a virtual machine that executes smart contracts in a way that is compatible with zero-knowledge-proof computation. A zkEVM takes the initial state, computes transactions, and outputs a new, updated state. The emerging zkEVM ecosystem will allow the Ethereum blockchain to bolster secure transaction scalability while preserving key functions. ConsenSys zkEVM is bytecode-compatible, which means it is the most compatible with Ethereum and the EVM, making it easy for developers to build and maintain.
  • Optimistic Rollups: Similar to ZK rollups, Optimistic rollups bundle transactions off-chain and submit a proof to the main chain. However, they use a different approach to security, relying on fraud proofs instead of zero-knowledge proofs. While Optimistic rollups typically have larger rollup sizes and slower confirmation times than ZK rollups, they still provide significant improvements in scalability and speed.
  • State Channels: State channels are off-chain communication channels between parties that allow them to transact privately and efficiently without the need for on-chain transactions. Once a state channel is closed, the final state of the channel is submitted to the main chain. State channels are ideal for micropayments, gaming, and other applications that require rapid, low-cost transactions.
  • Plasma: Plasma is a Layer 2 scaling solution that creates child chains linked to the main chain. These child chains handle transactions independently, reducing the load on the main chain. Plasma employs a combination of smart contracts and Merkle trees to ensure security and allow for the easy exit of assets back to the main chain.
  • Validium: Validium is a Layer 2 scaling solution that combines the benefits of ZK rollups and sidechains. It processes transactions off-chain and relies on zero-knowledge proofs for data validity, similar to ZK rollups. However, unlike ZK rollups, Validium stores data off-chain, reducing on-chain data availability but offering increased scalability.
  • Sidechains: Sidechains are independent blockchains that run parallel to the main chain, allowing for transactions to be processed off-chain. They use a two-way pegging system to enable assets to move between the main chain and the sidechain. Sidechains offer increased scalability, but they may come with potential security risks since they rely on their own consensus mechanisms.
  • Hybrid Solutions: Hybrid Layer 2 solutions combine different Layer 2 technologies to achieve the best balance of scalability, security, and data availability. Examples of hybrid solutions include zkSync, which combines ZK rollups and Validium, and Connext, which combines state channels and sidechains.

By understanding the various Layer 2 solutions available, you can make informed decisions when choosing the best Layer 2 crypto coins and projects for your needs.

Layer 2 Blockchain Watchlist: Layer 2 Crypto Coins Worth Noticing


With an understanding of Layer 2 solutions, we should now glance at promising Layer 2 blockchain projects: Metis, Cartesi, Loopring, and ZKSpace.

Metis: A Pioneering Layer 2 Scaling Solution on Ethereum

Metis is a Layer 2 scaling solution developed on the Ethereum blockchain, designed to ease the pressure on Ethereum by bundling transactions together and sending them to a second layer. This approach enhances transaction speed and throughput without compromising Ethereum’s security. The MetisDAO Foundation has introduced Smart L2, an innovative optimistic rollup technology that tackles Ethereum’s scalability issues. You can read an in-depth review of Metis here.

Cartesi: Layer 2 Scaling Infrastructure with Linux Compatibility

Cartesi blockchain is a layer-2 platform tailored for the development and deployment of scalable decentralized applications. It stands out as an application-specific rollup execution layer with a Linux runtime. Cartesi is also recognized as a Layer-2 scaling infrastructure that seamlessly integrates with Linux. You can read an in-depth review of Cartesi here.

Loopring: High-Throughput zkRollup Layer 2 for Ethereum-based DEXs

Loopring is a zkRollup Layer 2 solution enabling high-throughput, low-cost trading and payment on Ethereum. As a Layer-2 scaling protocol for decentralized exchanges (DEXs) built on the Ethereum blockchain, Loopring can process thousands of transactions per second. Assets on Loopring L2 are just as secure as they are on the Ethereum mainnet. You can read an in-depth review of Loopring here.

ZKSpace: A Comprehensive Layer 2 Protocol Harnessing ZKRollup Technology

ZKSpace is a full-featured Layer 2 protocol based on ZKRollup, functioning as a ZK-Rollups-based layer 2 DEX with the AMM model. ZKSpace deploys on Ethereum layer 2 and is compatible with the base layer, acting as a reliable protocol anchoring three of L2 Labs’ components. The ZKSpace platform includes a Layer 2 AMM DEX utilizing ZK-Rollups technology, an NFT marketplace, and a payment service named ZKSquare. You can read an in-depth review of ZKSpace here.

Layer 2 Blockchain Advantages and Disadvantages: What You Need to Know

When considering Layer 2 crypto options and the ongoing debate between Optimistic rollups and ZK rollups, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of Layer 2 blockchain solutions. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of these solutions can help you make informed decisions as you navigate the world of cryptocurrencies and Layer 1 vs Layer 2 blockchain technologies.


  • Enhanced Scalability: Layer 2 solutions enable thousands of low-value transactions to be processed and validated on parallel blockchains. This allows records to be maintained while significantly improving scalability.
  • Reduced Data Load: Layer 2 blockchains bundle multiple off-chain transactions into a single Layer 1 transaction. This approach helps reduce the data load on the main chain while retaining security and decentralization by settling transactions on the mainnet.
  • Improved User Experience and Expanded Applications: Layer 2 solutions can focus on enhancing user experience and broadening the scope of applications in the crypto space, contributing to the development of the best Layer 2 crypto coins and platforms.
  • Addressing Main Chain Issues: Layer 2 blockchains are designed to tackle pressing issues that the main chain may experience, such as network congestion and high transaction fees, providing a more efficient alternative.


  • Work in Progress: Layer 2 solutions are still under development, with multiple projects currently working to bring user-friendly solutions to market. The technology is evolving, and users need to be prepared for potential changes and improvements.
  • Validation Debate: The way Layer 2 blockchains validate transactions is still being debated, particularly when comparing Optimistic rollups and ZK rollups. This ongoing discussion may affect the direction of future development and the adoption of specific Layer 2 technologies.
  • Potential Security Risks: While Layer 2 solutions aim to maintain the security and decentralization of Layer 1 blockchains, there may be potential security risks associated with off-chain transactions and reliance on third-party providers.

By understanding the advantages and disadvantages of Layer 2 blockchain solutions, you can make better decisions when exploring the Layer 2 crypto list and choosing the best Layer 2 crypto coins and platforms for your needs. As the technology continues to evolve, staying informed and up-to-date on the latest developments will help you capitalize on the exciting potential of Layer 2 blockchains.

Essential Tips for Investors: Engaging with Layer 2 Blockchains and their Tokens


As you explore the realm of Layer 2 crypto, understanding the implications of optimistic rollups vs zk rollups, and choosing the best Layer 2 crypto coins is crucial. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Understand the differences between layer 1 and layer 2 blockchains: Grasp the fundamental distinctions between layer 1 and layer 2 blockchain technology to appreciate the value proposition and benefits of layer 2 solutions. This knowledge will help you identify the most promising projects and investment opportunities.
  • Evaluate the underlying technology: Examine the technical aspects of the layer 2 blockchain solutions you’re interested in, such as ZK rollups or Optimistic rollups. Assess their potential advantages and disadvantages in terms of scalability, security, and efficiency.
  • Explore the layer 2 blockchain list: Research the best layer 2 crypto coins and projects in the market. Familiarize yourself with promising platforms like Metis, Cartesi, Loopring, and ZKSpace, and understand how they differ in terms of technology, goals, and potential growth.
  • Assess the project’s fundamentals: Analyze the team behind the project, their track record, and the overall vision. Consider factors like token utility, partnerships, and community engagement to gauge the project’s potential for long-term success.
  • Identify potential risks and downsides: Be aware of the potential challenges associated with layer 2 blockchain investments, such as increased complexity, reliance on third-party providers, and potential security risks. Factor these concerns into your decision-making process.
  • Diversify your investments: As with any investment strategy, diversifying your layer 2 blockchain investments can help mitigate risks. Consider spreading your investments across multiple layer 2 crypto coins and technologies to balance potential rewards and risks.
  • Stay up-to-date with industry developments: The cryptocurrency and layer 2 blockchain landscape is constantly evolving. Keep yourself informed about the latest advancements in layer 2 solutions, regulatory changes, and market trends to make well-informed investment decisions.

By considering these crucial tips and weighing the pros and cons of layer 2 blockchain investments, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the world of layer 2 crypto coins and identify promising opportunities for your investment portfolio.

FAQ about Layer 2 Blockchains

Q: How does Layer 2 blockchain work?

A: Layer 2 blockchain processes transactions off-chain, summarizing the proof or rollup to the main chain. This method lightens the transaction load on the main chain, speeding up transactions while also making them cheaper.

Q: What are Layer 2 chains examples?

A: Notable Layer 2 chains include Lightning Network, Polygon, Raiden Network, Optimism, Arbitrum, StarkNet, Zksync, xDai, and more.

Q: What are Layer 2 chains of Ethereum?

A: Layer 2 solutions for Ethereum are designed to ameliorate Ethereum's scalability, throughput, and transaction fees. These include ZK rollups, Optimistic rollups, state channels, and Plasma.

Q: What are Layer 2 rollups?

A: Layer 2 rollups are off-chain aggregation methods that bundle multiple transactions together, submitting a proof to the main chain. They come in two main forms: ZK rollups and Optimistic rollups.

Q: What are some examples of ZK-rollups?

A: Some examples of projects utilizing ZK-rollups are Loopring, StarkNet, zkSync, Polygon, BNB Chain, ZKSpace, and Panther Protocol.

Q: What are some examples of Optimistic rollups?

A: Some examples of projects utilizing Optimistic rollups are Arbitrum, Optimism, Boba Network, Metis, Layer2.Finance, and Fuel v1.

Q: What are some use cases for zkEVM?

A: Here are some use cases for zkEVM:

  • zkEVM is a new kind of EVM on which smart contracts can run. It takes the initial state, computes transactions, and outputs a new, updated state and an accompanying zero-knowledge proof. Developers are able to easily port Ethereum dApps and smart contracts to the new environment or easily build new applications.
  • zkEVM is the key to building an EVM-compatible ZK Rollup while preserving the battle-tested code and knowledge gained after years of working with Solidity.
  • zkEVM generates zero-knowledge proofs to verify the correctness of programs, which makes it a good fit for Defi applications due to its high security and censorship resistance nature.


Layer 2 blockchains, such as Optimistic rollups and ZK rollups, are crucial to cryptocurrency evolution. They solve scalability issues faced by Layer 1 blockchains, providing quicker transactions, less network congestion, and lower fees. The Layer 2 crypto list is extensive and diverse, with many blockchain projects worth exploring. As crypto continues to grow, Layer 2 solutions and the best Layer 2 crypto coins will undoubtedly be at the forefront of blockchain development.

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Any investment decision should be based on an individual’s own research, evaluation, and risk tolerance. We strongly recommend that you consult with a qualified financial advisor or conduct your own independent research before making any financial decisions. The author(s) and/or publisher(s) of this communication are not liable for any losses or damages that may arise from the use or reliance on this information.

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