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Modular blockchain design (new pod)

This week on the podcast, an interview with Josh Bowen of Celestia. Celestia bills itself as "the first modular blockchain," but what does that mean in practice?

Celestia's approach is to separate the data and execution roles of a typical L1 blockchain into layers (yes, that means there are now layers inside of Layer 1). The Celestia blockchain only handles data and consensus. This means that anyone can create their own execution environment (EVM, WASM, etc.) and use Celestia's data storage.

The goal is to make it easy for anyone to create their own blockchain. I think the project is very interesting, but I'm not yet convinced that what they're doing aligns with why they're doing it. Don't get me wrong. I think the design of Celestia shows potential, but I'll be watching the project to see how easy it is to launch blockchains on top of the data layer.

Astute readers will notice that Koinos is also modular, but their approach is very different. Koinos isn't about enabling other blockchains to share modular components. It's about making individual functions of the blockchain easier to upgrade.

Regardless of the specific approach, modularity is a hot topic in blockchain design. The rise of L2s has given a lot of fuel to projects that seek to solve scalability issues with modular design. The top blockchains today are all monolithic, but the most interesting upcoming projects are all modular.

I believe we'll see modularity in some form take the spotlight over the next couple years.


P.S. We talk briefly in this interview about the spam and how gas fees address this issue. I'll unpack some of the comments we made in more detail in an upcoming post.