Highlayer: Welcome to the Bitcoin Superscaling Layer

Created: May 27th, 2024   |   Last updated: June 15th, 2024

The blockchain space is undergoing rapid growth and iterations. The adoption of blockchain technology is widespread, with more than 300 million people worldwide incorporating the technology into their daily lives, and over 85 million people now using a blockchain wallet. As such, new narratives and an exponential amount of new products around those narratives are being created with increasing frequency.


BTC L2 and Alternative Virtual Machines (Alt VM)

Two hot topics of large interest are Bitcoin Layer 2 and Alt VM. Bitcoin Layer 2 solutions are blockchains that are built on top of Bitcoin to enhance its functionality without altering the base layer. Alt VM means creating alternative virtual machines to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) that can operate on the blockchain, allowing for more flexibility and innovation in smart contract development.


The Current Blockchain Landscape and Limitations

While the initial focus for blockchain was on creating decentralized, censorship-resistant digital ledgers, the scope of blockchain applications has expanded significantly. However, this expansion has also brought to light several limitations, particularly in terms of scalability and efficiency. 

Traditional blockchains, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, have struggled to handle the growing number of transactions and the increasing complexity of decentralized applications (dApps). Further, the current status quo also limits the number of developers that can seamlessly build on their networks, as Web2 developers use mainly Javascript to create applications and are not familiar with native Web3 languages.



Ultimately low TPS, and high fees mean that blockchains are unable to scale in a way that allows dApps to compete with traditional Web2 Apps. In most cases these occur as Ethereum virtual machines (EVMs) are sequential in nature. This means that one transaction needs to be completed before the next can begin. 


Centralization occurs as many of the blockchain nodes are owned by selective groups in specific regions and/or data related to the underlying infrastructure is held on centralized databases. Additionally, the learning curve for developers new to Web3 is quite high, as smart contract languages such as Solidity are complicated to learn.


What is Highlayer

Highlayer aims to address these challenges by introducing a highly scalable sovereign Bitcoin rollup. Termed "the Bitcoin Superscaling layer", highlayer is the first Bitcoin layer 2, with self-sustained data availability, hybrid (parallel) execution (like Solana), and a Javascript VM. This allows Highlayer to be as fast as Solana (50k TPS), while as secure and decentralised in its data throughput as Bitcoin, and being able to seamlessly bridge millions of developers to Web3.

This solution combines several key technological advancements to offer an unparalleled combination of security, performance, and accessibility. Our aim is to attract millions of developers to Web3 by allowing them to efficiently and seamlessly build applications which can scale to compete with traditional non-decentralised applications.


Key Features


1. Advanced Data Availability

Data availability is a critical aspect of blockchain security and efficiency. Highlayer addresses the limitations of traditional data availability solutions by leveraging a self-sustainable data availability system (SSDAS). Existing issues include:

  • Data storage cost on the Layer 1

  • Layer 1 congestion

  • External security dependence for data availability (e.g. with Celestia)

  • Layer 1 validators bandwidth (with EIP4844)

  • Centralisation (data held in centralized servers, or dependent on select node operators)


SSDAS does not have these issues, while also ensuring that transaction data is permanently available, preventing problems such as sudden seeding attacks, and enhancing the overall security of the network. The SSDAS system also ensures that Highlayer is not dependent on the L1 chain for data throughput which is a factor that prohibitively limits the scalability of existing second layer solutions, and becomes particularly problematic when the base chain is Bitcoin.



2. Hybrid Execution Model

Highlayer introduces a hybrid execution model that combines the best aspects of sequential and parallel execution. This model allows for the efficient execution of heavy computational tasks without blocking other transactions. By enabling parallel processing where it matters most, particularly in processing of heavy workloads, Highlayer ensures that the network can handle a high throughput of transactions while maintaining low latency and not being limited to simple transactions.


3. AK (AppKey) protocol for Enhanced UX

User experience is a crucial factor in the adoption of decentralized applications. Highlayer's AK protocol allows dApps to create transactions without explicit user approval, using delegated keys. This improves the user experience by reducing the need for constant interaction with the wallet provider, making dApps more user-friendly and seamless.


4. JavaScript-Based Virtual Machine (HVM)

Highlayer's Virtual Machine (HVM) is designed to be accessible to a wide range of developers by using JavaScript as the primary programming language. This lowers the barrier to entry for Web2 developers, enabling them to create and deploy smart contracts with ease. The HVM includes traditional features like gas metering and deterministic execution, ensuring that smart contracts run predictably, while including novel advanced technologies such as hybrid execution (parallelization), scheduled actions and VDF (Verifiable Delay Function) clock. HVM is based on Duktape for running JavaScript.



Think Big. Build High.

Highlayer presents a new solution to many of the pain points in existing blockchains, with the capacity to address key challenges faced on other networks with advanced technological solutions. It is placed in a unique position to allow a true realization of the Web 3.0, with Solana-like performance, robust advanced data availability, and a virtual machine where Web2 builders can rapidly prototype, innovate and scale their applications to compete with traditional dApps.