top of page
Connecting Dots

Class of 2023: A New Cohort of Layer 1 Solutions

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

May 21, 2023

We are not financial advisors, and the content in this article is not and should not be considered financial or investment advice.

2021 and 2022 saw the meteoric rise and development of new blockchain ecosystems in response to the speed and cost-prohibition of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Even after the Ethereum-London hardfork that transitioned $ETH to a less energy-intensive proof-of-stake consensus, Ethereum is still plagued by prohibitively high gas fees. Fast, cheap, and powerful Layer 1 blockchain solutions like Solana, Avalanche, and Cardano all ushered in a new era of blockchain activity which made blockchain ecosystems more accessible to the average user, and the narrative now is stronger than ever.

With learnings from the last few years and more robust resources, code libraries, git repos, and wisdom, some new players have entered the scene aiming to improve the blockchain experience and with tech to attract new users, and we're anxious to see what they will bring to the space. This is the Class of 2023. These are crypto's new graduates and must-watch blockchain ecosystems developed in 2023.

A group of graduates with crypto logos on their robes
Layer 1: The Class of 2023 by Midjourney

The race to solve the blockchain trilemma continues as it simultaneously becomes more complicated. Users demand security, scalability, and decentralization, and any crypto head knows that one usually comes at the expense of another. The adoption of certain blockchain technologies has further complicated matters. Solidity has become the de facto language for smart contract development, and more blockchain developers are dedicating time to programming web3 and solidity than any other language. Meaning that users are more likely to adopt a piece of blockchain tech that is EVM-compatible.

That is not to say that Solidity is superior to other languages, it is simply to state that it is the most popular smart contract development language, and EVM-compatible chains are easier to on-board new users and integrate with existing ecosystems, making them powerful by proxy, and many of the new Layer 1 blockchain solutions in this article are EVM-compatible. While EVM is the "gold standard," many developers are still building atop Algorand, Cardano, Polkadot, and Solana with languages like Python, Rust, and Haskell. That is to say, there are no shortage of possibilities when it comes to blockchain and smart contract development, but EVM and Solidity currently reign supreme.

Some ambitious newcomers aim to address issues posed by the blockchain trilemma while making their solutions easy to onboard and integrate with in-use tech like the beloved MetaMask wallet. Before we dive in, most of these solutions are very very new, and the tech is still under development for many of them. Always do your own research, and be careful and cautious when investing in new coins as low-market cap coins are extremely volatile and carry exceptional risk.



Alterna Network ($ALTN)


Every class has a burnout.

Alterna Telegram Channel Screenshot
Alterna Telegram Channel posted this on June 5th following the release of their exchange token that failed miserably.

An image of alterna network logo with text and explanation
2023 Up-and-comer Alterna Network

The first on our list is a very new project with an extremely low market cap (at the time of writing). Alterna network launched in 2023 on the Binance Smart Chain, and it is one of a few new or newer projects that touts lightening fast transaction and block times along with EVM compatibility (two of those projects also made this list). In 2021 and 2022, the demand for cleaner, faster, cheaper and more secure blockchain tech was greeted by the likes of Solana, Avalanche, Cardano, and Fantom.

Given what Alterna Network has developed and accomplished so far in such a short amount of time, they look like they will be on of the belles of the next bull-run. As it currently stands, market cap is relatively low, development of their mainnet is still underway, their holder count is relatively low, and users of their current staking mechanism are less than 500. Alterna has made a lot of headway without any venture capital at startup, and their community on telegram is active and involved. They are diligent about posting updates and keeping the community informed of any upcoming changes.

On May 21, 2023, Alterna had press releases on major platforms including Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg, and Morningstar just to name a few. If you're interested in learning more about Alterna Network you can check out links to their official website, telegram channel, and twitter account. This is a very new project, and with any new project comes inherent risk, so please do your own research. Despite how new they are, they are delivering aggressively and their product is very promising. Blockchain speed and scalability will never not be something crypto and blockchain users don't need, and any new technology that makes blockchain cheaper, better, and faster is poised to succeed long term. At the time of writing, $ALTN is trading around $.00056 with a market cap right around $559,000*.

*Following the rug, Alterna's market cap was reduced to less than $20,000.

Alphabet Network ($ALT)*


Some classes have several burnouts.

Image of the Alphabet Network logo and Certik audit badge.
Alphabet Network launched in early 2023

Continuing with the theme of EVM-compatible fast, secure, and scalable Layer 1 solutions is Alphabet Network. Alphabet Network also launched early 2023 and are aggressively building, and in many aspects is very similar to Alterna Network in that both tokens did an initial launch on Binance Smart Chain with no supporting venture capital. Alphabet seems to be a little further along in development than Alterna with a live and proven mainnet, support for bridging assets, development of ALT20 tokens, and the successful launch of the utility token for its native DEX, Alphaswap ($ALS).

At the time of writing, $ALT is trading right around $.00123 with a market cap right around $1.2 Million dollars. Alphabet Network has a very active Telegram community, a considerable Twitter presence, and a good-looking website with a well-composed roadmap and a generously yielding staking mechanism for token holders. Currently, technical documentation is robust (despite many aspects still being under development), and they include instructions for running a node, node as a service, setting up Alphabet RPC for MetaMask, configuration settings for Remix, and also support for Thirdweb integration for minting and deploying NFTs easily.

Finally, (at the time of writing) Alphabet is almost finished with it's Certik audit which means the Alphabet ecosystem has undergone an objective evaluation of its technology to identify any security vulnerabilities or smart contract risks. Click here to learn more about the Certik Audit process. Alphabet shows no signs of slowing down, and is positioning itself to be a major player in the blockchain space. You can learn more about Alphabet by clicking the links to their website and socials below.*

*Alphabet Network's liquidity pool was drained by developers, and further development of this project is highly unlikely.

Echain Network ($ECT)

Image of the Alphabet Network logo and Certik audit badge.
Echain launched November 2022

Echain is another EVM-compatible blockchain ecosystem on our list. The major differentiating factor between $ECT and the likes of $ALT and $ALTN is that Echain launched on the Ethereum network. Echain touts an interesting new consensus mechanism called "Proof of Green Authority" which they claim is a more energy-efficient mechanism than other Proof of Stake counterparts since it does not require as much computing power. With more new crypto and blockchain users entering the space, consumers of this technology are justifiably concerned about the environmental impact of crypto and blockchain usage, and Echain aims to alleviate the concern about environmental impact through their PoGA mechanism.

It should go without saying (since they have an network bridge option available) that Echain's mainnet is up and running. Their documentation is very robust and includes audit certificates from Solidity Finance which includes a "warning" in the Centralization of Control line in the results tab (at the time of writing), however this may change as the ecosystem continues to develop and more users engage in consensus participation.

There are a total of 300 million $ECT with about 168.35 million of those in circulation according to dextools. At the time of writing, $ECT is trading around $.0057 with a market cap around $953,000. With more environmentally-conscious people entering the space looking for ecosystems they can use in good conscience, Echain is poised to provide this service in such a way that includes the familiarities of EVM-compatibility, fast transaction time, and scalability. Time will tell if the network becomes less centralized in the future, but in the meantime, we'll be anxiously awaiting further developments within this ecosystem. You can learn more about Echain by clicking the links below.

WARNING: Be careful searching Twitter for information about Echain as there are currently several Echain scam accounts.

Radiant ($RXD)

Image of the Radiant RXD logo and web address
Radiant launched late 2022

Switching gears a bit, Radiant is a modern Proof of Work blockchain that has claims to be designed for very large blocks and low fees, which given the issues with Bitcoin congestion as a result of BRC20 deployments and Ordinals, is a welcome development. When Bitcoin was upgraded to facilitate smart contract interactions, the network quickly got bogged down by a lot of data and transacting on the network got not only very expensive, but very slow with a massive backlog of pending transactions. Radiant aims to solve this while still maintaining the pure security and decentralization afforded by proof of work consensus.

Information about Radiant RXD L1 from Radiant website.
Snip taken from Radiant's official website.

When Litecoin was originally launched, it was a slightly improved version of Bitcoin enabling faster and cheaper transactions while implementing a similar proof of work consensus algorithm. Radiant aims to take this concept to the next level to facilitate everything crypto users like to do on chain while improving upon the unspent transaction output (UTXO) model and keeping consensus fully decentralized through proof of work. They also claim their algorithm is faster and more efficient than other POW models.

There are a total of 21 Billion $RXD with about 5.7 Billion $RXD in circulation. At the time of writing, $RXD is trading around $.00275 with a market cap around $15.7 Million, making Radiant a higher market cap project than most others on the list. It is worth noting, that Radiant is a little harder to come by since it is not natively traded on any EVM-compatible DEXs, so it would appear the only way to come by $RXD is to participate in mining, claiming a very small amount from the mainnet faucet, or to purchase through one of the few partnering centralized exchanges. It is worth noting that Radiant currently has support from a few different wallets and very robust documentation for participating in its ecosystem.

While we acknowledge we hold a bias toward EVM-compatible blockchains and Proof of Stake consensus algorithms, the concept of a cleaner, faster, stable, and scalable Proof of Work blockchain excites us, and we will be watching Radiant with great interest. There might be things we like, but we aren't maximalists. Click the links below to learn more about how you learn more about and participate in the Radiant ecosystem.

Inside the Linktree are official links to Radiant's Discord and Telegram groups.

PulseChain ($PLS)

Image of PulseChain logo
The Mainnet is finally live!

PulseChain is a little different from the other projects on this list since it's been publicly in development since at least 2021 when they announced a 'sacrifice' phase. In 2022, they released a live testnet. In May 2023, their mainnet finally went live. PulseChain is a hardfork of Ethereum meaning it uses the Ethereum protocol with some changes to the rules or governance of the code. PulseChain implements a proof of stake consensus and has its own coin, $PLS.

PulseX is the official DEX of PulseChain and all the network stats are visible on the site. Richard Heart, founder of $HEX, has been involved in the development of PulseChain which may or may not be a deterrent for wanting to participate, but one thing that doesn't lie are numbers. statistics snapshot.
Snip taken from PLSburn which tracks statistics of PulseX and PulseChain activity.

At the time of writing, the 24hr PulseX trades were over 1.7 million. Deposits on-chain include over $38 Million worth of $HEX, $25 Million worth of $DAI, $23 Million worth of $USDC, $18 Million worth of $ETH, and $17 Million worth of $USDT. PulseChain touts a considerable level of decentralization with 12,598 validators on the network, with the ability to validate being more attainable for a normal user than many other network protocols. To become a validator on PulseChain requires a stake of 32,000,000 $PLS which translates to about $8,900 USD at the time of writing where Ethereum requires 32 $ETH, or roughly $57,000 USD. Which might be a worthwhile venture if the network maintains the level of usage shown at the time of writing.

If you'd like to monitor PulseChain activity, you can check out $WPLS on the Ethereum network can be bought and sold an every major DEX and can be bridged to PulseChain via the PulseChain Bridge. At the time of writing, we have not tested the PulseChain Bridge, but many reports suggest bridge times average around 15 minutes, and during the time of writing, PulseChain is experiencing congestion. These times may improve during periods with less network demand. At the time of writing, $PLS is trading right around $.00028 with a market cap over $1 Billion, which makes it in itself a large market cap coin. The price is accessible, the investment required to become a validator is also reasonable, and as PulseChain continues to be used, more $PLS will be burned which will reduce the total supply as time progresses. So far, roughly 1.24 Billion $PLS have been burned.

Despite the time spent in development, PulseChain has had a successful launch with a very active community. Resources are available to further develop on PulseChain and all the peripherals seem to be working great. We're anxious to see how PulseChain onboards new users and how PulseChain will poise itself as a contender in the Layer 1 arena. To learn more about PulseChain or to check out their community or social media, click on the appropriate links below.

Loop Network ($LOOP)

Image of Loop Network banner from Loop Network official twitter account.
Loop Network banner from Loop official Twitter

Last but certainly not least on our list, by far our favorite fifth year senior, and the groundbreaker for the fourth generation of Layer 1 blockchain solutions and predecessor of both Alphabet and Alterna is Loop Network and their native currency $LOOP. Loop launched in early 2022 on the Binance Smart Chain and has been going hard on marketing and development ever since. As a response to the many underwhelming projects launched with VC backing, or via ICO, or IDO, Loop Network launched their project with $44 dollars in the pool alongside the majority of their network tokens making it arguably the cheapest Layer 1 to onboard since the last time Bitcoin was realistically mineable via CPU back in 2009 or 2010.

During its tenure, Loop has failed to disappoint. Their mainnet is live and is EVM compatible, and bridgeable via the Sphynx Labs Bridge from . Many smaller projects have launched on the Loop Mainnet including a couple NFTs, and several LRC20 tokens. It's rumored one of the Loop developers was a major player in Ethereum's migration to Proof of Stake, and Loop's whitepaper is impressive. They leverage a Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (pBFT) consensus mechanism and a Proof of Stake and Authority (PoSA) validation mechanism. According to their whitepaper, this "allows a distributed system to reach a consensus even when a small amount of nodes demonstrate malicious behavior." Loop Network has also undergone a smart contract audit, code review and security analysis conducted by RD Auditors.

Snapshot of Loop Network on Sphynx Bridge Menu.
Fun fact: Our first time using the Sphynx Labs bridge was to bridge $LOOP from BSC to Loop Net.

Notable downsides to Loop are the barriers to entry to become a validator. According to their documentation, running a full node is not currently available to the public, and becoming a validator requires over 2 Million $LOOP, which doesn't seem like a lot compared to something like PulseChain that requires 32 Million $PLS to become a validator, but $LOOP total supply is currently just over 180 Million which means that even if 90 percent of the tokens were used by individuals to become network validators, there would only be roughly 81 validators, making Loop Network almost as centralized as Binance Smart Chain. Furthermore, the cost to become a validator at the time of writing (assuming 2 Million $LOOP to become a validator at $.0732 price per $LOOP) is over $140,000 USD, which is about three times the cost to become an Ethereum validator.

It's not all bad, though. Loop Network has the capacity to process infinite transactions per second through native sharding without the need for a Layer 2 solution. Block processing time is currently right around 3 seconds to finality, and we're positive that we mentioned it's also EVM-compatible, but extra brownie points for that as well. We deployed a LRC721 test contract to the mainnet during a test drive. The block was processed faster than we received the MetaMask 'success' message and it only cost about a $.00001 to process.

$LOOP has also been a darling to early investors. During the time its price has been tracked on the market, it went from a price of $.0029 at it's lowest to almost $.24 at peak for an over 80x return in the middle of a bear market. At the time of writing, $LOOP is trading at $.0732 with a market cap of $14.6 million dollars with plenty of space to grow some more before the Bitcoin halvening next year. We're anxious to see some more projects get developed on Loop Network and to watch this ecosystem grow. Despite the centralization risks, Loop Network is a solid piece of technology, and definitely one to watch.

If you're interested in learning more about Loop Network, you can check out their official site, their Twitter, or their Telegram which has a lot of good and useful information, tech updates, FAQs and how-to's if you can manage to filter through the noise, hype, and sometimes often cult-like behavior from some members of the group, click the links below.

Final Thoughts on New Layer 1 Solutions

The landscape of blockchain tech is evolving, and users are demanding more from some networks than they are technologically capable of handling. There will always be new entrants onto the scene, and many will claim to have the solution to whatever problem is plaguing crypto and blockchain. Some will have valid solutions, many will be scams. It's important to approach everything with a healthy dose of skepticism and to do research.

Many of the ecosystems we have discussed in this post are very new with very low market caps, which historically has been the best point to find an entry on a new project. As we've stated before, low market cap coins come at high risk, so you shouldn't 'invest' more than you're willing to throw into a fire, and shouldn't buy if you don't intend to hold long term. It's possible you might catch a short-term parabolic wave on some of these, but most won't start to see action until more retail capital flows into the space. It's also entirely possible that legislation or some catastrophe or black swan event sends them all to zero overnight.

The other side of this is that most of these ecosystems offer an opportunity to people who have not used crypto previously to play around and experiment at a relatively low cost to entry and subsequently low risk. For example, a user could purchase 1000 $ALT for a little over a dollar and use it to send, swap, mint ALT20 tokens, and deploy smart contracts while learning. These skills are transferrable to any other EVM network. If their wallet gets drained, or they mess something up, they're out a dollar and some time whereas this would be a considerably more expensive learning experience on Ethereum or Binance Smart Chain. It's this level of accessibility that the space needs in order to onboard new users.

We're excited to see the landscape of blockchain evolving, and it's been a lot of fun to see new tech enter the market and change the ways in which people interact with blockchain tech. We will continue to monitor the grads from the class of 2023 and see what they do over the course of the next couple of years and how others build atop these platforms. Fast, secure, scalable, and cheap Layer 1 Blockchain ecosystems will always be a strong narrative in crypto. If you're interested in learning more about finding narratives in crypto, check out our write-up below.


bottom of page