What’s the difference between the main non-ETH L1 chains?

I know they all offer faster transactions and lower fees than ETH, but anything stands out about them?

For example:

1. Solana: Great wallets, thriving NFT ecosystem, not great reliability
2. Terra: LUNA-UST relationship is very unique, wants to be a digital currency
3. Avalanche: ???
4. Polkadot: ???
5. Cosmos: ???

Please feel free to share any good reads as well.

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13 thoughts on “What’s the difference between the main non-ETH L1 chains?”

  1. Cosmos is where all the dev and alpha value are at, IMO. Super fast, super cheap, super reliable and by all accounts the most secure. IBC is killing it right now for unique and applicable projects and ridiculous airdrops, and Osmosis DEFI is a joy to use.

  2. Avalanche fast and cheap transactions, Ethereum VM so anything that works on Ethereum works on Avalanche. Around 1 second transactional finality.

  3. Everyone just shilling their own fav layer 1 here. I made a post a couple of months ago comparing my experience across 10-12 layer 1s, need to dig it up.

    If you have some time it’s worthwhile putting small amounts into each and experiencing for yourself the pros and cons of each ecosystem. Gas fees are negligible across most non-eth chains so you can get started with as little as $50.

  4. So technically the list you have on there are just as you’ve said, that want to replace ETH with faster speeds and cheaper gas but usually at the expense of security as we have witnesses with ADA and Solana. Frankly I like Luna because it truly is what Ethereum should have been but ngl Luna has been phenomenal I could say same for AVAX. Cosmos has always been about interoperability and are the leaders in that department it’s akin to what Chainlink is in for oracles. Personally I’ll say look into Kaddex for knowledge gathering and research purposes https://kaddex.medium.com/ it’s the only one so far that is based on proof of work built on kadena which runs 480k TPS at zero gas fee. I find that intriguing and inline with crypto ethos in general.

  5. **Polygon** is pretty cheap to use because the token is low USD value and the tokenomics suggest the token probably won’t be mooning to 3 figures until like a Whopper at Burger King costs $30 USD due to insane inflation across the board on everything. Bad for bag holders to some degree, but great for people just wanting to do defi. One of the few chains where you could be someone that only makes $500 USD a year and feel that the gas fees were reasonable.

    **Binance Smart Chain** isn’t the cheapest by far, but they have an advantage of being attached to a centralized exchange. There are tons of wrapped versions of tokens to play with in their ecosystem. Venus is their top money market and to my knowledge, it’s literally the only money market where you can use: BTC, ETH, BNB, ADA, MATIC, DOT and a bunch of other tokens. The ecosystem has wrapped versions of AVAX, LUNA, FTM, and ATOM as well. It’s the only defi chain with the potential to let you use basically every L1 token worth mentioning. It has centralization issues to a high degree as a con, but it has undeniable pros as well.

    **Solana** is cool but it’s kinda limited right now in liquidity despite the high total TVL. But I do like how similar sized many of it’s protocols are. It’s not all clustered into 3 or less things. It’s just that none of those things are particularly big right now. It’s still a growing and developing platform.

    **Terra** is cheap enough to use and the fee structure is such that the gas token, LUNA, appreciating in value does jack shit to increase fees, unlike basically every other chain. It’s just a very “top heavy” chain. Tons of liquidity mostly in like 3 protocols and it’s logarithmic ranking. In a lot of chains, the top protocols are within a similar range. #3 on Terra is like only 25% of what #2 is and #2 is only half of what #1 is. What it does is super cool but the ecosystem isn’t as thriving as the total TVL would suggest if you’re thinking it’s like all the other chains.

    **Avalanche** is cool but it’s pretty expensive to use when AVAX starts mooning. The eco system is nice. It has multiple money markets and dexes which is a good thing.

    **Polkadot** and **Cosmos** are too small right now for my liking. God bless the people on them and I actually have bags of them, but I don’t like to get into defi until there’s billions of dollars in protocols. Let other people be the stress test and experience the defi growing pains.

    **Cronos** has the Polkadot/Cosmos issue of being too small for my liking on top of the chain being stupid expensive. Doing smart contract stuff might be like 5 CRO. That’s already pricey as hell and CRO is only like $0.50 USD. It’s going to be nightmarish when it’s worth a dollar or more. Do you know what it’s like to pay 7 CRO for a failed transaction? I do and it isn’t a fun experience. That was a side of guac or queso at Chipotle.

    **Fantom** isn’t bad but the fees in FTM can be a little steep sometimes. The #1 protocol ultra dwarfs everything else, but like 2 through 6 are well matched in TVL. I used beefy on it to farm my FTM bag.

    I mainly use **Polygon**. Good mix of trusted protocols, liquidity, speed, and low fees. Plus it’s EVM so I don’t have to download another wallet to interact with it. It’s not the worst thing in the world to be non-EVM but it’s super convenient to have everything under one roof, all at the same address. I haven’t used Solana yet because I just don’t feel like going through the process for the APYs I’ve seen. I do use Terra and they aren’t EVM. Steady 19% to 20% on UST on Anchor was worth the hassle and you can bridge easily from BSC, which is important for me because a lot of CEX in the US won’t let you withdraw to non-Ethereum chains so I’m usually having to send stuff into Binance.us then withdraw to BSC to get assets into the defi ecosystem at non-crazy ETH prices.

  6. No love for Algorand? Arguably the most innovative, secure, and scalable of all the other L1’s. With EVM capability coming with the new release via state proofs it will occupy a chainlink like utility space in crypto as well. That ironically makes it possibly the most scalable ETH L2 rollup very soon. Very exciting tech, killer team with an insane pedigree both on the finance side and the tech side. Speaking as an investor and a developer by trade it should be one for everyone to watch.

  7. You should look to Polkadot and Cosmos as L0 projects, because beside being a standalone they are are also a great bridge between projects!

    Polkadot has projects betting on the connectivity of NFTs between different chains. More programmable & customisable NFTs, etc

    Cosmos has very interesting defi options with multi chain connections (still exploring this one)

    Don’t know much about avalanche

  8. Tezos. On chain governance with many upgrades already deployed, thriving NFT marketplaces, low fees, eco friendly POS protocol, many corporate partnerships announced, etc.


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