Astar Network (formerly Plasm Network) is a Substrate blockchain that provides the methods for developing scalable Dapps and supporting cutting-edge layer 2 solutions. The Polkadot Relaychain, by design, does not support smart contracts. Developers can build whatever applications on Astar Network without having to consider its scalability.
Astar Network is a gateway to the multi-chain future. They connect multiple layer1 blockchains to Polkadot through Astar Network.
Astar Network is a layer1 permissionless public blockchain where everyone can join. In general, Astar Network is the default root chain for developers to connect their applications. Astar Network provides various modules that allow the developers to utilize Layer2 solutions with ease such as Optimistic Virtual Machine (OVM) module and DApp Staking module.
Astar Network will not only be for Plasma applications but also for Lightning Network applications or any other layer 2 protocols. Users can choose which solution to use and make their use case possible with minimum overhead.
In addition to implementing Layer2 solutions that are not possible in Astar. The network has integrated Plasma as a Service for supporting Dapps developers. Plasma as a Service allows developers to deploy Astar applications effortlessly without going through the pain of learning everything from scratch.
To incentivize for community members who contribute to the Astar Network from the early days, Astar have designed the staking mechanism to reward early adopters through this process: