Chain Deconstruction: A List of 9 Modular Public Chains

TL;DR

  1. Compared with Ethereum, which bears a heavy burden of historical data, the modular chain represents a more reasonable trend of multi-chain structure.
  2. The modular chain is currently dominated by DA and execution layer. The execution layer is easy to deploy, and DA emphasizes performance optimization.
  3. General purpose modular chains like Celestia deserve attention.

More and more people are referring to the concept of modularity. The so-called modularity is to divide the consensus layer, data availability layer (DA), settlement layer, transaction execution layer of the blockchain to different chains, rather than one chain processing all modules.

Ethereum Rollup is the expression of the modularity of the transaction execution layer. However, Ethereum can only be regarded as “halfway” using a modular solution, and the long-term accumulation of historical data has caused a heavy burden on it, and the expansion effect is limited.

Since Rollup needs to upload the necessary data to L1, as the DA of L1 to verify the validity of Rollup transactions, these DAs face the situation of competing with the historical data and DAPP on L1 for block space.

When the DAPP on L1 has a large amount of interaction, the transaction cost of Rollup will increase sharply. In addition, the ever-expanding Ethereum data state is constantly “eating” the limited block space resources. The expansion ceiling of Ethereum Rollup is actually quite low.

Chain Deconstruction: A List of 9 Modular Public Chains

In contrast, the modular blockchain has decided to only be responsible for one of the modules of the blockchain since the day it was born, which can be DA, transaction settlement, transaction execution, or only historical data. Although the decoupling of such modules faces the consideration of security, compatibility, decentralization, and performance in combination, they represent a more reasonable trend of multi-chain structure.

How are modular chains different?

The modular chain itself is also a blockchain with network nodes. Unlike the single chain, these nodes only focus on processing one type of task, such as only focusing on DA, only focusing on transaction execution, or only focusing on network consensus.

Take Celestia, a chain focused on data availability. It encourages nodes to provide DA to other chains/Rollups by rewarding and slashing their behavior with tokens.

Celestia treats all transactions equally, as long as transactions pay the necessary fees, Celestia will accept, order, and copy them. Celestia does not verify the validity of these transactions, nor does it execute them.

Chain Deconstruction: A List of 9 Modular Public Chains

Source: Delphi Digital

Verification and execution of transactions are handed over to Rollup based on Celestia DA. For invalid transactions, Rollup will ignore them, Celestia will not “dispose” of these invalid transactions.

When a transaction is disputed, the task of arbitration is handed over to the modular settlement layer. The final state determination is also handled by the settlement layer.

It can be seen that the modular chain is like different processes on the assembly line, which are connected to each other and perform their own duties, which improves the overall efficiency.

Advantages of Modular Chains

1) Lighter and can be combined with each other

Take the example of modular execution layers based on Celestia DA, which can share Celestia’s security. As long as the complete data is available, Rollup will compute the same state when running the same validity rules. This means that even if these modular execution layers are attacked, after the fork, these execution layers can still compute the same final state.

These executive layers no longer need to design and weigh complex underlying consensus and token economic models for their own security, and no longer need to rack their brains to persuade nodes to join in order to maintain network operation and improve decentralization. They can even be designed to be slightly more centralized. They can be made lighter and easier to deploy quickly.

Different modular chains, even modular chains and single chains can be combined with each other, such as the combination of DA and execution layer, and the combination of Celestia and Ethereum. Of course, in the process of combination, there must be considerations and even trade-offs in terms of security, compatibility, and performance.

2) Governance is decoupled, the execution layer can respond quickly, and the consensus layer can achieve robust improvements

If you look at the project governance proposals, you will find that a large part of the proposals are related to implementation, such as token freezing and burning. Such proposals will not be able to make quick decisions if they solicit broad community votes, and are likely to result in protocol losses in a black swan event.

For some relatively low-level governance proposals, due to security considerations, the improvement of the protocol often requires a long period of community coordination, trial and adjustment to finalize and finally implement.

In the scenario of modular blockchain, the consensus layer, execution layer, DA layer, settlement layer, etc. are separated from each other, so governance can also be independent. Therefore, the execution layer can respond quickly to the environment, and the governance of the consensus layer does not need to be rushed.

In essence, governance decoupling also reflects an important trend in the differentiated development of each modular chain. The core layer close to consensus and state can stick to the fortress of decentralization and security. The execution layer can enhance scalability and maximize performance.

3) Form a “trust-minimized” cluster

The blockchains are connected by bridges. Bridges can be divided into two types according to different security: bridges that require trust and bridges that minimize trust. 2 chains connected by a trust-minimized bridge need to satisfy 2 conditions: 1) have the same DA as a guarantee; 2) can provide transaction validity/fraud proof.

What is formed between Ethereum and Rollup is the “trust minimization bridge”, because Rollup provides L1 with necessary data as DA, and L1 can also verify the validity and fraud of Rollup transactions through zk-Rollup, Optimistic-Rollup, etc.

In the modular blockchain scenario, a “trust minimization bridge” can be formed between Rollups that use Celestia as DA (and their transaction ordering rules are consistent), and it is expected that relatively secure funds and messages can be passed between them.

9 modular chains

The market is paying more and more attention to the modular public chain. But at present, there are not many related attempts, especially some general solutions.

If you do not consider the modular structure of the entire ecosystem such as Cosmos and Polkadot and the Rollup of the Ethereum execution layer, there are only 9 related solutions collected by Bibi News, namely Celestia (including Cevmos, Celestium), Polygon Avail, EigenDA, Fuel, Assembly, zk Porter, StarkEx DAC, Arbitrum Anytrust, Adamantium.

Through observation, it can be found that the current modularization attempts are mainly based on the execution layer and DA.

In particular, the modularization of the execution layer will be easier to deploy. Because of the modularity of the execution layer, decentralization can generally not be considered too much, and the connection between the execution layer and the main chain already has security solutions such as validity proof/fraud proof.

The modularity of DA is also relatively easy to deploy. Celestia was originally called LazyLedger (Lazy Ledger) because it doesn’t have to deal with transaction execution and transaction validity, it just needs to store and provide data. The DAs themselves will also emphasize TPS, that is, how to store more DA.

In terms of modular settlement layer, Cevmos, a dedicated settlement layer launched by Celestia and Evmos for EVM Rollup, is currently the only seed.

In addition, a large part of the existing modular solutions serve specific ecosystems. For example, ZK Porter, StarkEx DAC, Arbitrum Anytrust, and EigenDA are all DA solutions specially launched for Ethereum, while Assembly serves the IOTA ecosystem.

There are relatively few common modular solutions, mainly Celestia and Polygon Avail at present. The following will introduce the characteristics, financing and current situation of the nine modular solutions.

1)Celestia

Progress: The representative of the modular chain is a general-purpose modular solution. The first testnet Mamaki was launched in May this year. Incentivized testnet will be launched in Q4. The mainnet will go live in 2023, and there will be tokens at that time.

Financing: Received a $1.5 million seed round in March 2021. Investors include Interchain Foundation, Binance Labs, KR1, etc.

Features: In order to improve TPS, Celestia introduces the same Data Availability Sampling (DAS) technology as Ethereum Danksharding.

We know that as the blockchain is used, on-chain data accumulates. This places ever-increasing hardware requirements on full nodes to download all data and verify all transactions.

Light nodes only need to download and verify block headers. Therefore, light nodes in the network often account for a large proportion, and there is a trend of increasing proportion. But the light node will bring a problem, that is, when the malicious node publishes the block and hides the invalid transaction, the light node cannot make a judgment.

Data Availability Sampling (DAS) uses erasure coding. The basic principle is to segment the data and add certain checksums to associate each data segment. In this case, even if the data is lost, as long as the data sampled by all light nodes reaches a certain proportion, the complete data can be calculated, so that the light nodes can obtain DA.

The advantage of this is that the light node itself reduces the hardware requirements, and mobile phones and laptops can become light nodes, which is conducive to the decentralization of the network. Second, DAS allows for a higher proportion of light nodes in the network. Furthermore, the more light nodes that participate in data sampling, the more secure the network will be, and it will also support an appropriate increase in block space, thus achieving the effect of overall capacity expansion.

It is undeniable that block space is a real consumable, and there seems to be no good plan to ensure that any blockchain is always available.

Even the current expansion plan of Ethereum only reduces the redundancy of storage and verification through transaction packaging and compression, appropriately expanding the block space, and data sampling, thereby improving the utilization of block space, but the available block space Actually less and less. This is also true for any new public chain.

Cevmos: Celestia also presents Cevmos and Celestium modular solutions. Among them, Cevmos was jointly launched by Celestia and Evmos, the EVM center on Cosmos, as an EVM-compatible Rollup-compatible modular settlement layer.

Celestium: Celestium provides DA for Ethereum. Celestium is Ethereum L2, Ethereum is the consensus and settlement layer, and Celestium based on Celestia provides DA. In the case of Ethereum L2 using Validium (DA is stored off-chain), Celestia-based DA would be somewhat more secure than Data Availability Council (DAC)-based DA.

2)Polygon Avail

Progress: Universal modular solution, offering DA. The testnet was launched in June this year. Channels such as Twitter currently show less progress.

Introduction: Polygon Avail’s solution is very similar to Celestia. In fact, Celestia co-founder Mustafa Al-Bassam has said Avail is suspected of plagiarism from Celestia. Avail’s intro is an almost exact copy of the Celestia intro he wrote in 2019.

3)EigenDA(EigenLayer)

Features: EigenDA is a DA scheme proposed by EigenLayer. EigenLayer itself is the restaking layer of Ethereum.

The founder Sreeram Kannan put forward the view that the trust between blockchains and DAPPs is separated from each other, and each has to pay high capital costs to maintain ecological trust. For example, the Ethereum Beacon Chain now has more than 13 million ETH pledged. To maintain this pledge volume, Ethereum now provides about 5% APR for pledged users.

What EigenLayer does is the restaking of funds. In addition to PoS pledge, pledge users can also repeatedly pledge funds to middleware, oracles, DAPP, etc., thereby improving capital efficiency and reducing trust costs.

EigenLayer itself is based on Danksharding and ETH staking. EigenDA is a DA scheme proposed by EigenLayer, specially designed for Optimistic-Rollup and ZK-Rollup. There is not much information about the project.

4)Fuel

Progress: Fuel is a modular execution layer. The developer network-based demo application SwaySwap, an AMM, was launched in June.

Financing: US$1.5 million in financing in September 2021, led by CoinFund, with participation from Fenbushi Capital and Origin Capital.

Features: Fuel is Ethereum’s Optimistic Rollup, which initially expanded Ethereum through technologies such as UTXO (unspent transaction output). 1.0 is mainly suitable for payment applications.

However, after the launch of the main network, there may be less use cases and no support for smart contracts, resulting in less interaction. So Fuel 2.0 began to transform into a modular execution layer. One of the project’s co-founders, John Adler, is also a Celestia co-founder.

Fuel officially promotes three technical implementations: 1) Parallel execution of transactions through UTXO, thereby improving performance; 2) The introduction of FuelVM (Fuel Virtual Machine) to optimize traditional virtual machines, which should also be to solve EVM compatibility issues; 3) For The developers introduced the programming language Sway and the toolchain Forc.

5)Assembly

Progress: A modular smart contract layer on IOTA. Currently in pledge period 3. By staking MIOTA via firefly.iota.org, stakers can earn 0.000001 ASMB of Assembly tokens every 10 seconds. Wallets must have at least 1 ASMB to receive the airdrop. 20% of the total ASMB will be allocated to IOTA stakers. Assembly’s mainnet is expected to go live this year, and ASMB transfers will be enabled at that time.

Financing: Total financing amounted to $118 million. Investors include Huobi, LD Capital, HashKey Capital, Signum Capital, etc.

Features: Assembly is based on IOTA. Different from Ethereum’s account model, IOTA is based on UTXO ledger and supports high concurrency, but UTXO is not as compatible with smart contracts as the account model. In addition, IOTA also uses a DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph) data structure, which is also conducive to high concurrency.

In the combination of IOTA+Assembly, IOTA can achieve high performance because of UTXO and DAG. Because UTXO is not compatible with smart contracts, IOTA is very suitable for L1 that only focuses on DA and settlement (equivalent to no DAPP and execution layer competing for block space on L1). Assembly is a smart contract layer built on IOTA to support Rollup’s smart contracts.

The security (transaction validity/fraud proof) from Rollup to the IOTA main chain is checked by the smart contract chain specially deployed on Assembly, and the verification of the transaction is carried out by the root chain verifier with the highest reputation.

IOTA+Assembly is similar in structure to Polkadot+Moonbeam, and Cosmos+Evmos. The modular smart contract layer provides support for smart contracts such as Rollup, parachains, etc.

6) zkPorter

Progress: zkPorter is an off-chain DA solution proposed by zkSync. In June this year, zkSync launched the 2.0 testnet, with zkEVM and zkPorter as the two biggest features. The mainnet of zkSync 2.0 is expected to be launched at the end of October and early November.

Features: zkSync supports both zk-Rollup and zkPorter schemes. The DA of the former is on the chain, and the DA of the latter is placed off the chain. The off-chain DA of zkPorter is maintained by Guardians (zkSync token holders) and has a slashing mechanism. Maintaining DA based on Guardians is a more centralized way.

7)StarkEx DAC

Features: StarkEx DAC is StarkEx’s off-chain DA solution. DA is maintained by the Data Availability Council (DAC), which is maintained in a more centralized way than zkPorter. StarkEx also has a Volition scheme, that is, DA can be placed on-chain or off-chain.

8) Anytrust arbitration

Progress: Arbitrum launched Nova Chain in August, which is based on Anytrust technology. At present, Nova Chain has been launched on the main network. Officials say Nova is suitable for high-frequency games, social networking and other scenarios that are sensitive to transaction fees.

Features: Anytrust is Arbitrum’s off-chain DA solution. Anytrust’s off-chain DA is also maintained by the Data Availability Committee (DAC), so it is relatively centralized. Officially announced Nova DAC members include ConsenSys, FTX, Google Cloud, Reddit, Official Offchain Labs, etc.

Chain Deconstruction: A List of 9 Modular Public Chains

9)Adamantium

Features: Adamantium is also an off-chain DA solution. Little information is available. Only know that it retains the scalability advantages of off-chain DA, but without trusting the Data Availability Committee (DAC), users can choose to host their own off-chain DA. Funds are not stolen or frozen even if the user is offline, and can be automatically moved back to L1.

Current status and future prospects

Overall, the modular chain is currently in the early stages of development.

Celestia and Fuel’s Twitter has more updates, but it is mainly about the popularization of modular advantages and information about team members’ participation in online and offline activities. There is almost no information on cooperation between the project parties. It can be seen that the modular project is still in the early stage of preaching and launching.

Among the 9 modular chains counted by Bibi News, at most 2 are already available on the mainnet, namely the Arbitrum Nova chain based on Arbitrum Anytrust technology and the DAC solution of StarkEx. Others like Celestia, Polygon Avail, Fuel, zkPorter, etc. are still in the testnet stage, while others should still be in the concept stage.

However, it is very likely that we are about to usher in a bright moment for modular chains. Celestia announced that the mainnet will be launched in 2023, and the mainnet of zkSync 2.0 is expected to be launched in late October and early November. As the development of new public chains and Ethereum L2 progresses, these important developments are likely to gain more attention for modular chains.

In addition, we observe that Ethereum Rollup has more attempts to modularize DA. They all try to maintain off-chain DA through relatively centralized groups, such as Guardians (token pledgers) and DAC (Data Availability Committee), so as to solve the high cost of on-chain DA mentioned at the beginning of the article. This is also a good solution for Ethereum trading scenarios with high-frequency trading needs.

In different scenarios and needs, we need to have different inclinations and trade-offs for decentralization and performance. Therefore, in the modular chain ecology, we should also be able to see different options. Even in the future, ecosystems like BNB Chain and Solana may make modular attempts.

However, before all of this happens, early modular chains such as Celestia will be the first to face the test of the market, and modular chains may also bring some new problems. For example, do they introduce new security issues when they connect to each other, and when they connect to L1, for example, does the modular chain also break the composability between the original Ethereum DAPPs, and how do these problems need to be solved?

We are optimistic about the development of the modular public chain track, and we also look forward to more innovations in this track.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/chain-deconstruction-a-list-of-9-modular-public-chains/
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

Like (0)
Donate Buy me a coffee Buy me a coffee
Previous 2022-08-23 10:31
Next 2022-08-23 10:33

Related articles