This article explores what’s being built in the Celestia ecosystem.
The launch of the Celestia mainnet could potentially be the highlight of the year for the Cosmos ecosystem, offering builders maximum flexibility and full sovereignty. However, in practice, what do we know about the projects being built on Celestia and their role in the Modular ecosystem? This post, the first in a series, aims to uncover the Celestia Ecosystem.
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One crucial part of the ecosystem, which already has confirmed projects building in Celestia, is sequencers-as-a-service. These services allow rollups to have sequencers without the need to boot-strap their own sequencer network.
In a rollup, a sequencer may be responsible for both ordering transactions and proposing blocks within the rollup chain. The Sequencer collects transactions from users and arranges them based on timestamps or other criteria including auctions. Properly sequenced transactions are then batched and posted to the underlying DA layer. Rollup full nodes execute transactions after reading the state from the DA layer. This approach can improve scalability and reduce on-chain congestion when compared to using one monolithic execution layer.
In the current rollup landscape, there is a debate surrounding the decentralization of sequencers. Below we review the pros and cons of having centralized vs. decentralized sequencers.
|- Enhanced Security
|- Censorship Resistance
|- Simplified Management
|- Improved Trustlessness
|- Scalability Challenges
|- Single Point of Failure
|- Potential Latency
|- Reduced Trustlessness
|- Weaker Security
Currently, the four main Ethereum rollups with a Total Value Locked of over $3 billion have centralized sequencers. While decentralizing sequencers is a future roadmap objective for most, there is not a concrete timeline for when and how this will be accomplished.
One solution gaining traction is the concept of shared sequencers in Celestia. Two projects, Saga and Astria, will offer decentralized sequencers for rollups in the Modular ecosystem. Saga will leverage interchain security and Celestia’s Rollmint rollup technology, while Astria enhances scalability and user experience in the rollup ecosystem.
In the Celestia modular blockchain paradigm, settlement rollups play a crucial role in optimizing and specializing the settlement function. These layers can be used as a place for rollups to publish proofs for external verification, facilitate bridging between rollups, and provide liquidity for all rollups. In the three-layer modular stack, user-facing applications reside in the rollup layer, which interacts with the settlement layer independently. The settlement layer builds batches of transactions, including those from the rollup, and publishes them to Celestia.
Alternatively, the rollup can publish transaction data directly to Celestia and proofs to the settlement layer. Specialized settlement layers can maximize block space for rollups and enhance security by introducing fraud or validity proofs, enabling trust-minimized light clients. This modular approach offers scalability and flexibility in the rollup ecosystem.
As of right now, there are two confirmed settlement layers in the ecosystem:
Dymension: Dymension is a layer 1 blockchain is built with the Cosmos SDK that functions as a settlement layer by providing a secure and efficient framework for app-specific blockchains called RollApps. RollApps maintain their own tokens as network fees, enabling users to pay fees directly to the respective RollApps. The Dymension settlement layer ensures the security and agreed-upon states of RollApps by relying on RollApp sequencers who stake DYM tokens. The settlement layer handles fraud disputes and maintains the current state of RollApps. RollApp developers can choose DA providers which are supported by the Dymension protocol according to their cost and security preferences. Besides being DA agnostic, Dymension is VM agnostic meaning developers can use the toolkit that they are most comfortable with. Dymension facilitates seamless deployment and robust functionality of RollApps, offering a scalable and reliable settlement layer for decentralized applications.
Neutron and Eclipse: There are two other settlement providers for Celestia. One is Neutron, the first ICS enabled chain, will be offering settlement for Celestia rollups and the other is Eclipse, which is bringing the Solana VM and execution layer to Celestia.
Celestia initiated the Blockspace Race as part of its incentivized testnet program, inviting participants to deploy rollups to earn points. Among the rollups launched were Stride, The Open Knowledge Protocol, and a “social app chain,” totaling 30 rollups.
As part of our participation in the Blockspace Race, ZKValidator launched a rollup named Fabchain in collaboration with Pierre-Alexis Ciavaldini, a DevOps Engineer at ZKV and founder of Distrifab. Fabchain aims to ensure and uphold the quality of industrial production while minimizing the environmental footprint through interconnected micro-factories.
While still in its early stages, the Celestia ecosystem already possesses foundational components for future growth. As the mainnet approaches, further exploration of the Modular Ecosystem will be covered in Round Up #2.