Celestia: First Look

July 20, 2023

Celestia: First Look

Celestia is the first modular blockchain network. 

Celestia is a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain with an accessible Data Availability (DA) layer. The DA layer offers networks the ability to leverage posting their data to Celestia without having to store and verify the data on their own chain. Importantly, Celestia introduces the concept of a technical ‘stack’ in the construction of blockchain networks, meaning that a given network can depend on another specialized network to provide a service within its ecosystem, in order to enable the dependent network to more efficiently accomplish its desired function(s) by outsourcing certain key functions to specialized networks.

With Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) as an integral element of Celestia, the DA layer is biased toward interoperability by default, meaning that all networks using Celestia as a part of their stack can easily communicate with any other part of their stack, all the while posting their data to Celestia. In the long run, we expect that the modular paradigm will prompt a new wave of interoperable blockchain utilities that serve one another rather than relying entirely on themselves for all crucial technical needs.

What does this mean for Scalability?

One of the main factors limiting the growth of blockchain networks is scalability. In particular, an individual chain’s state bloat limits scalability of a chain’s services, since verification that a given blockchain’s posted data is included in a chain’s ledger is a demanding process. By posting data to a separate service-oriented chain (such as Celestia) that has solved for data availability, a dependent chain or rollup does not need to worry about storing its own state and can post sequenced transactions to Celestia itself, which will do the work of indicating that the data exists. 

A modular blockchain world moves us out of a paradigm in which blockchains were required to build out the entirety of their component architecture within a single chain, introducing scalability issues and coordination faults in a single team attempting to support and build out every part that is needed in order to run their network. The DA layer functions through the care of a party of contributors whose function is to provide light verifiability to the data that has been posted to the Celestia base layer. Using statistical logic, clusters of light nodes verify the availability of information that has been posted to the DA layer, a much more efficient verification method than the monolithic paradigm described above.

Use Cases

With a stack-based blockchain architecture, components that are required for the basic functions of data availability, settlement, and execution can be abstracted into separate elements that can be serviced by entirely different and separate teams focused on building out the best version for that part of blockchain architecture. In the long term, this means that teams can focus on the construction of pure utility implementation while using elements of an accessible modular stack to meet all the other requirements of running settlement architecture.

The pointed advantage of this architecture is that chains can greatly reduce what is needed in order to spin up a utility instance, even some functioning with such lightweight architectural requirements as to only warrant needing a trusted sequencer for a rollup. With Rollkit, rollups can be built around any application very quickly and post data to Celestia with little technical overhead, opening a path to a high iteration builder space that should encourage a rapid pace of innovation without scalability barriers in the way of this construction.

The Token

Little is known about the Celestia token (TIA), but there is high likelihood that Celestia’s construction around the Tendermint SDK will ensure a standardized staking approach for token holders, wherein token holders can delegate to staking service providers who will serve the function of validating the transactions posted by light nodes to the Celestia blockchain. TIA will be used to participate in the PoS consensus through delegating and earning rewards.

At this time, the tokenomics of TIA, including inflation rate of the network and basic mechanics, are not well-known, but we will issue an update when more information becomes available.

The Team

Behind Celestia is a talented team featuring prominent developers from the blockchain space who have focused on building necessary infrastructure in order to urge further development in the modular paradigm. The co-founders of Celestia – Mustafa Al-Bassam and Ismail Khoffi – have a deep background in hacktivism and distributed computing, respectively, while the Celestia foundation’s Chief Operating Officer, Nick White, has substantial experience in managing blockchain organizations, as he was one of the original co-founders of Harmony protocol. 

Figment Involvement

Figment has been paying close attention to Celestia since the very beginning. We strongly believe that the modular paradigm is a logical next step in the evolution of blockchain interdependencies, and that the team behind the project is well- suited to building what Celestia will offer to the blockchain infrastructure space. 

As a premier infrastructure provider for Celestia, our intention is to provide exceptional support to the network beyond mainnet launch – our participation in the Celestia Mocha and Arabica testnets have shown that we are able to provide the support that will be needed by both the network and the token holders. Building on this, Figment will be serving as a staking service provider for Celestia token holders, providing a reliable staking avenue to earn rewards and secure the network. 

Celestia’s aim is to provide the building blocks for a set of primitives that will be built with it. Considering the utility of Celestia, we are optimistic that the network will succeed on both fronts.

Staking with Figment 

Figment is the leading provider of staking infrastructure with over $3B in total assets staked. On Ethereum, we are the largest non-custodial staking provider with nearly 5% of staked ETH on Figment validators. We provide the most comprehensive staking solution for over 250 institutional clients, including asset managers, exchanges, wallets, foundations, custodians, and large token holders, to earn rewards on their digital assets. These clients rely on Figment’s institutional staking service, including rapid API development, rewards reporting, partner integrations, and slashing protection.

If you are interested in staking Celestia with Figment, meet with us. 

The information herein is being provided to you for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to be, nor should it be relied upon as, legal, business, or investment advice. Figment undertakes no obligation to update the information herein.



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