Celestia: Abbreviated Introduction
Data availability is a critical part of any blockchain scaling strategy. It refers to the ability for transaction data to be made available for nodes to download. However, there’s a problem: A block producer could withhold data included in a block. Therefore, they could also hide a malicious transaction inside the block.
How can nodes, then, be sure that the block producer did not act maliciously? This dilemma is called the “Data Availability Problem (DAP).”
The traditional monolithic blockchains are designed for everyone to run full nodes. However, this approach has been demonstrated to not be scalable. In such a setting, running light nodes comes with risks due to the DAP. Subsequent developments to scalability, like sidechains and rollups, also face this problem. So far, all off-chain or on-chain solutions to this problem come with trade-offs.
The team of researchers and engineers at Celestia came up with a solution to this problem. Celestia is the first modular blockchain network. Celestia is a unique layer-1 blockchain whose only job is to order transactions and verify that the published data is available. Celestia only functions as a consensus and data availability layer. It does not perform execution or transaction settlement. Decoupling consensus and execution enables other chains to become more sovereign and flexible by choosing their own execution and settlement environments.
Celestia uses a mathematical primitive called Erasure Coding to enable random sampling of erasure-coded data (called Data Availability Sampling). This technique allows for the block size to be increased exponentially, subject to sampling parameters and the number of light clients. The trust-minimized light clients who conduct data availability sampling can verify that the block’s data is available. Since nodes don’t have to verify that transactions are valid, light nodes can fully verify a block with minimal hardware requirements. This is something that typical light clients
can’t do because they only check block headers.
The Celestia network is launched on Devnet, which is running smoothly. Celestia’s Testnet and Mainnet are planned to be launched toward the end of 2022. The network token is also planned to be announced around the same time.
The Project company Celestia Labs (incorporated as Strange Loop Labs AG) is located in Liechtenstein.
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