LearnIntro to Web3
How to use other L1 chains?

How to use other L1 chains?

May 3, 2023
 min read

Other L1 chains offer faster and cheaper transactions than Ethereum mainnet. In this guide, we'll cover Solana and Avalanche.

By: Peter

Other L1 chains offer faster and cheaper transactions than Ethereum mainnet.

If your goal is to learn web3, you could save thousands in transaction fees by using other L1 chains instead of Ethereum mainnet. 

In this guide, we’ll walk through:

  1. Blockchain ecosystem
  2. Solana
  3. Avalanche

This guide is not meant to be comprehensive. Our goal is to help you understand how to use these other chains to learn crypto while saving money on gas. You can also explore our NFT and DeFi paths to better understand some of the terms below.

What follows is not investment advice.

Blockchain ecosystem

Before we talk about specific chains, let’s look at the NFT and DeFi ecosystem at a high level:

As you can see, Ethereum L1 still dominates NFT sales (88%) and DeFi total value locked (60%). Other chains are trying to gain traction through the following flywheel:

  1. Attract developers through incentives
  2. Developers build dapps that attract more users
  3. More users attract more developers (back to step 1)

Since Ethereum is so dominant, many chains want to be EVM-compatible. The latter simply means that any Ethereum dapp can be ported over to the new chain without much work. 

Here’s how you can get started with three beginner-friendly L1 chains - Solana, Avalanche, and Terra.


Great if you want to try amazing wallets and explore NFTs.

Solana has great wallets in Phantom, Solflare, and Glo

Solana is an L1 chain co-founded in 2017 by Anatoly and other ex-Qualcomm leaders (whitepaper). Its native token is SOL.

Solana has amazing wallets, the 2nd highest NFT sales volume behind Ethereum, and a growing DeFi ecosystem. The network did experience several outages in early 2022, but that hasn’t slowed its growth.

To get started with Solana:

  1. Get a Solana wallet: Phantom, Solflare, and Glow are all good options.
  2. Get some SOL: Use an exchange to buy or swap for SOL (e.g., Coinbase, Uniswap).
  3. Explore Solana NFTs and dapps: Visit Magic Eden to browse Solana NFTs or check out Solana’s dapp ecosystem


Great if you want to explore DeFi (decentralized finance)

Avalanche was co-founded in 2020 by Emin Gun Sirer, a professor from Cornell University (whitepaper). Its native token is AVAX.

Unlike Solana and Terra, Avalanche is EVM compatible. That means that any developer can port their Ethereum dapp to Avalanche to enjoy faster and cheaper transactions. Avalanche has a thriving DeFi ecosystem while NFT sales are more nascent.

To get started with Avalanche:

  1. Connect Avalanche to Metamask: Follow the instructions here.
  2. Get some AVAX: Use an exchange to buy AVAX (e.g., Coinbase, Uniswap) or bridge your ETH to AVAX.
  3. Explore Avalanche dapps: Check out Avalanche’s dapp ecosystem.
Up next: How to avoid getting rekt?

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