As blockchain networks have grown, scalability and speed issues have raised concerns about the viability of their widespread adoption.
This has prompted developers to design additional layers to keep pace with the demands of increasing network traffic.
Layer 0 blockchains like Venom provide the foundational infrastructure for other protocol layers, including Layer 1 networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum and Layer 2 networks such as Optimism and Arbitrum.
Layer 0 blockchains handle consensus, data storage, and networking functions. The protocols allow developers to create blockchains that are customized to their exact requirements, combining elements from different Layer 1 protocols while making performance enhancements.
They aim to solve the “blockchain trilemma”, which refers to the challenge of achieving security, scalability, and decentralization in the same network without sacrificing one in favor of the others.
Algorand, Solana, and Venom are among the growing number of networks tackling the challenge, each with different features and capabilities:
- Venom is designed as a multi-blockchain platform with dynamic sharding that enables scalability and fast processing times while improving security.
- Algorand is a two-tiered blockchain that focuses on maintaining decentralization and security, while also enabling high processing speeds.
- Solana has implemented a hybrid consensus mechanism that allows it to process hundreds of thousands of transactions per second (tps) without the need for scaling solutions.
But how do these approaches differ? Which protocol best addresses the challenges of expanding blockchain adoption?
Table Of Contents
- Token Economics
- Consensus Mechanisms
- Smart Contracts
- Algorand vs Solana vs Venom: The Verdict
Scalability is one of the most significant challenges blockchain developers face as the number of network users and transactions grows.
Algorand targets fast transaction finality
Algorand prioritizes scalability with transaction speeds of up to 1,000tps, scaling automatically as the number of users and transactions on the network increases.
The network provides immediate transaction finality, allowing it to facilitate the transition from traditional finance to decentralized finance (DeFi).
Solana touts high scaling rates
Solana has carved out a niche with its higher scalability rates. The blockchain typically processes around 5,000-10,000tps and has reached as high as 65,000tps in testing, while maintaining low transaction fees.
Solana’s multi-threaded architecture allows it to scale horizontally across multiple nodes, ensuring the network’s resilience.
Venom sharding facilitates higher speeds
However, the Venom sharding approach can achieve a real-life speed of 100,000tps, transaction finality of 0.2-0.3 seconds, and average transaction fees of just $0.0002.
With Venom’s dynamic sharding architecture, the masterchain contains block proofs from workchains, while workchains represent an additional blockchain with its own virtual machine and currency or inherit the components of workchain 0.
This approach allows the network to start with one shardchain, which covers all smart contract addresses of the workchain.
Workchains provide static horizontal ‘data’ sharding, while shardchains serve as a method of dynamic vertical “computational” sharding, making the overall system linearly scalable.
Other Layer 0 blockchains, such as Cosmos and Polkadot, also prioritize scalability through consensus models, sharding, and parallel processing.
Layer 0 blockchains prioritize security as a core feature, with many adopting innovative consensus mechanisms and cryptographic techniques to ensure network integrity and security.
Algorand secures both levels
Algorand prioritizes security at the consensus level and the network level. Its Pure Proof of Stake (PPoS) mechanism is designed to prevent attacks such as double-spending and Sybil attacks without requiring additional layers of security.
Solana strengthens security with hybrid approach
Solana places a strong emphasis on security, using a combination of cryptographic and network-level features to protect its network.
Solana’s Proof-of-History (PoH) consensus mechanism uses synchronized timestamps to create a tamper-proof record of all transactions in each block on the chain, maintaining its integrity.
Venom provides advanced security features
Venom’s Byzantine Fault Tolerant (BFT) consensus mechanism provides secure and efficient block collation on all levels (shardchain, workchain, and masterchain) while maintaining the network’s decentralization and linear scalability.
Venom is one of only a few blockchains that offers Account Abstraction, which can improve security by reducing the attack surface of smart contracts. Smart contracts can interact with assets without having direct access to the underlying storage or transactions of those assets, allowing for greater security.
Communication between networks is a key feature of Layer 0 blockchains, as it allows developers to create cross-chain applications and enables users to access a wider range of assets and services across multiple blockchains.
Algorand offers secure interface
Algorand has introduced its State Proofs interoperability standard, which securely connects blockchains to the outside world. Using software that tracks the state of a blockchain, they provide a trustless interface for developers to build applications on all PoS blockchains.
Solana develops bridging
Solana developers are working on various forms of interoperability, such as the Wormhole protocol, a bridge that enables users to transfer non-fungible tokens (NFTs) between Solana and other blockchain networks. Solana is also compatible with the EVM so that developers can integrate their applications with existing Ethereum-based apps.
Venom provides multi-chain customization
Venom’s multi-chain functionality is designed to provide a “Blockchain of Blockchains” solution, promoting interoperability by creating private and public blockchains with customizable tokens, transaction fees, and block issuance speeds.
Venom currently uses Threaded Virtual Machine (TVM) to execute smart-contract code on the masterchain and basechain. But the development team is now working on making Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible workchains so that the network is more interoperable.
Venom connects multiple digital asset classes by bridging fiat currency with stablecoins and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) so that they can interoperate between different blockchains, institutions, and nations.
The energy consumption and carbon footprint of blockchain networks have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years. Sustainable blockchain solutions are critical to minimizing the environmental impact of blockchain networks and ensuring their long-term adoption and viability.
Algorand commits to carbon neutrality
Aside from its PPoS consensus algorithm, Algorand has committed to using renewable energy sources to power its network to further reduce its carbon footprint. Each transaction on the Algorand blockchain uses approximately 0.0000004 kg of CO2, in contrast to a Bitcoin transaction, which emits 338 tons of CO2.
Algorand buys CO2 credits through a smart contract in partnership with ClimateTrade to offset its carbon usage, as it aims to remain net carbon negative. Algorand also promotes carbon neutrality through its partnerships and applications. For example, PlanetWatch is using Algorand to implement a global monitoring network of affordable air quality sensors to validate and share real-time air quality data online.
Solana collaborates on resources
Solana also uses a more energy efficient PoS algorithm. The Solana Foundation has committed to regularly studying the blockchain’s energy impact, providing open-source data, and bringing down its carbon footprint. The Foundation purchases annual carbon emissions (CO2) offsets to keep the blockchain carbon neutral and provides its community with tools and resources to help reduce its carbon emissions.
Venom incorporates sustainable design and accessibility
Venom’s PoS consensus mechanism for creating blocks is more energy-efficient than the PoW mechanisms used by some other blockchain networks, as it requires less computational power to validate transactions. Additionally, the Venom blockchain incorporates sustainable design principles that minimize resource consumption, to ensure that the network is environmentally and economically sustainable.
Venom is also accessible and inclusive to all users, providing a decentralized and open platform that allows anyone to participate in the network consensus, without requiring extensive technical knowledge or resources.
Other Layer 0 blockchains are adjusting their consensus mechanisms and introducing energy-efficient designs to reduce their environmental impact.
Decentralization is a core principle of blockchain development, as it enables trustless and permissionless transactions on a global scale. Decentralization ensures that no single entity or group has control over a blockchain, making it more resilient to censorship and manipulation.
Algorand making governance transition
Algorand’s PPoS consensus algorithm enables a large number of nodes to participate in the network. The project began a formal transition to decentralized governance in its 2022 program, holding votes on decision-making and distributing governance rewards.
The Algorand network has two types of nodes – relay and participation. The relay nodes are centralized network hubs that control communication between nodes, while the participation nodes are decentralized and enable the consensus mechanism.
The project has faced some criticism that it is dependent on the permissioned and trustful relay nodes, leaving it susceptible to centralized control and censorship.
Solana expands validator reach
Solana is similarly designed to be highly decentralized, with thousands of nodes and validators participating in the network and operating independently. Solana hosts a fast-increasing range of decentralized applications (dApps) and NFTs. And data shows that Solana has a higher validator count than most other major blockchain networks.
However, Solana has faced criticism for its relative degree of centralization, with the Solana Foundation acting as the only entity developing core node software and a high proportion of SOL coins held by insiders rather than the public. The cost of running a node on Solana can be prohibitive to new entrants, especially when compared to other networks where costs are lower.
Venom focuses on transparency
Venom’s governance model also uses a token-based voting system, where holders of the VENOM token can participate in consensus and vote on proposals. Venom is the first blockchain company licensed by the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).
Using the consensus algorithm, the validator proposes candidate blocks and votes on blocks proposed by other validators. Once the voting threshold is reached, the proposed block is added to the chain. This process is facilitated by an overlay network created by the network-layer protocol, which connects the validators.
Delegators also play an important part in the decentralization of the network. By staking to validators, they enhance network security and offer direction to the elector’s algorithm on which validators should move forward to the next round.
The token economics (also known as tokenomics) of a blockchain project determine the value and utility of the native tokens that power the network and incentivize participation.
Algorand burns ALGO to support value
Algorand’s tokenomics are designed to incentivize participation in the network and increase demand for its native ALGO token. Holders use ALGO to pay transaction fees and secure the network through staking, with stakers receiving a portion of the block rewards as an incentive.
The model also includes a buyback and burn mechanism that reduces the total supply of ALGO over time, which could lift its value.
When the Algorand blockchain launched in 2019, 10 billion ALGO tokens were minted. As of April 2023, there were 7.2 billion in circulation.
Solana creates demand for dual-use SOL
Solana’s tokenonomics are similarly designed to drive demand for its native SOL utility token as blockchain usage grows. There are two uses for SOL: staking and dApps. As with the Venom network, stakers can use their tokens to run validator nodes or delegate tokens to a validator to receive rewards.
SOL holders can use the token to pay for transaction fees, including when interacting with a dApp or purchasing an NFT.
SOL has an uncapped maximum supply but operates under a deflationary mechanism that reduces its total supply and has the potential to increase its value over time. As of April 2023, there were 392 million SOL in circulation, out of a total supply of 539 million.
Around 25.6% of the total SOL supply was allocated to its seed sale in 2020, with 20.2% held by the Solana Foundation and another 20.2% held by the development team. That raises further questions as to how decentralized Solana is – especially given that just 2.6% was allocated to a public auction sale.
Venom promotes delegated staking
VENOM is the utility token for the Venom blockchain. It facilitates transactions, enables users to pay network fees, rewards validators for each block, and enables participants to delegate their tokens to validators by staking. Delegated staking helps to prevent a small number of validators from amassing too much control over the network, limiting the potential for malicious activity. Holders can also use the VENOM token to participate in governance.
VENOM launched with an initial supply of 7.2 billion tokens, of which 15.5% were unlocked and immediately available. The 84.5% of locked tokens include 10% as a stake of the initial validators.
The consensus algorithm that a Layer 0 blockchain uses is crucial, as it determines how the network nodes reach agreement on the state of the blockchain, how new blocks are added, and how nodes are rewarded. Consensus mechanisms are designed to ensure that transactions are valid, prevent double-spending, and maintain the network’s integrity.
Algorand runs random PPoS
Algorand’s PPoS algorithm built on Byzantine consensus randomly selects a small subset of nodes to validate new transactions and create new blocks on the chain, contributing to decentralization. protocol built on Byzantine consensus. Each validator’s influence on the block creation process is proportional to the number of tokens they stake.
Solana uses PoH/PoS hybrid
Solana’s PoH consensus mechanism uses a verifiable delay function (VDF) to create a record of all transactions on the network, which can be used to verify the validity of new transactions. With its hybrid approach, Solana also uses a PoS to enable a large number of nodes to participate in the network.
Venom maintains consensus with BFT
Venom’s BFT mechanism is designed for high-performance blockchain networks to validate and execute transactions as well as secure the network. This allows the distributed network to reach a consensus even when some of the nodes fail to respond.
Venom uses BFT for block validation and creation as well as securing the network from attacks that are directed toward PoS networks, aiming to make the blockchain more secure than its competitors. During the block creation process, the protocol uses the BFT algorithm to propose a block and facilitates the exchange of messages between validator nodes in the network.
Other Layer 0 blockchains are increasingly using hybrid models to create a unique approach to reaching consensus to operate networks while maintaining network security and decentralization.
Smart contracts are pieces of self-executing code that can be written to automatically execute when certain conditions are met. They are a key feature of Layer 0 blockchains, as they enable the creation of dApps to run on the networks.
When comparing the smart contract capabilities of different Layer 0 blockchains, it is important to consider factors such as the programming language, the level of security and efficiency, and the size and activity of the developer community.
The choice of blockchain for smart contract development will depend on the specific use case and requirements of the dApp being developed.
Algorand develops smart contract language
Algorand has developed the Transaction Execution Approval Language (TEAL) language to write secure and efficient smart contracts for a wide range of dApps.
Solana supports Rust for scalable dApps
Solana uses the Rust programming language for smart contracts, as it enables parallelized transaction processing, simple debugging and scalability. Solana also supports the C, C++, and Python languages.
Venom boasts TVM innovations
The Venom blockchain executes smart contracts on TVM for all its applications. For example, whereas in EVM a wallet is an address that shows a balance, in TVM, a wallet is always a smart contract. The use of TVM creates advantages over other networks in executing contracts, handling network fees, and scalability.
Other Layer 0 blockchains also support smart contracts and attract large developer communities building ecosystems around them.
Algorand vs Solana vs Venom: The Verdict
Algorand, Solana and Venom all offer unique approaches to achieving blockchain scalability through a combination of high transaction throughput, low latency, decentralization, and secure protocols.
Solana’s fast transaction processing speeds have attracted a developer community that is deploying a range of innovative dApps on the network. Algorand’s rapid time to finality allows it to power the next generation of financial products and services. Meanwhile, Venom has developed an innovative sharding architecture that provides linear scalability, directly addressing the challenges of blockchain growth with lightning-fast transaction processing.
As the blockchain space continues to evolve, these platforms are well-placed to meet the growing demand for decentralized, scalable, and secure solutions. When choosing among them, you will need to take into account their consensus models, scalability, decentralization, and the size of their ecosystems.
To learn more about Layer 0 blockchains and the features of Algorand, Solana, Venom, and other platforms, explore these technologies in more depth through further research.