The base blockchain layer of a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin is called the mainchain.
In this definition...
What does the mainchain do?
This base layer or the mainchain is where all the transactions are executed and finalized. Every blockchain has a central or mainchain to facilitate transactions on the network. All transactions that are done layers on top of the mainchain are not confirmed until they are finalized on the mainchain. This makes the mainchain one of the most important components of any blockchain network. The upgrades to the mainchain have allowed for several privacy, security, and data decentralization features to be added to the mainchain through the development of applications and layers on top of the chain.
How does mainchain work?
As the mainchain is the original or the underlying layer of the blockchain architecture, it is often referred to as the parent blockchain. Cryptocurrencies settle all transactions on the mainchain, even if they have secondary layers.
For example, in Bitcoin, one of the secondary layers on top of the main chain is the Lightning Network, which is used for instant transactions between Lightning wallets. Once the transaction is executed on the Lighting Network, the transactions need to be finalized on the mainchain for the process to be completed.
What is the relationship between the mainchain and sidechain?
Every blockchain has a mainchain, which functions as the base layer. Due to the certain limitations of the mainchain such as limited block size, low throughput, and overall low efficiency, users have often found that there is a tradeoff between higher security and efficiency in cryptocurrency. The sidechain mechanism was developed to improve the efficiency, scale, and scope of the blockchain network.
Sidechains are able to do this by using a pegging system, which allows for digital asset exchange between two different blockchain networks resulting in a larger seamless ecosystem.
What are the mainchain’s limitations?
With a growing number of blockchain users, validating every transaction on the mainchain tends to slow the processing speeds in the blockchain networks. While this approach of validating all transactions on the mainchain is highly secure, the efficacy is severely compromised. As a result, more time and computer resources need to be dedicated to the mainchain to complete the blockchain processes.
A possible solution to this issue is using sharding, which is a process of splitting the tasks of validating transactions into smaller partitions that are easier to manage. The use of sidechains can also help boost the efficiency, scalability, scope, and flexibility of the blockchain network.