Stakely Blog
October 19, 2023

Celestia, a modular blockchain with a minimalist approach

October 19, 2023

We could describe Celestia as a modular and minimalist blockchain. Its mission is simple but ambitious: to allow anyone to create their own fully operational, decentralized, and customized blockchain with just a click.

Imagine being able to launch your own blockchain network with minimal technical and economic costs. Moreover, one that is decentralized, instantly functional, and scalable. Sounds easy, right?

Besides the current blockchain technology accomplishments, the Celestia team aims for an innovative structure that could pave the way for mass adoption of crypto. Celestia could be a game-changer!

What is Celestia?

Celestia is a modular, minimalist layer-1 blockchain. Its goal is to provide a framework that allows any developer to implement a sovereign, decentralized blockchain or rollup without the need to build a new consensus network from scratch. Instead, Celestia serves as the base chain.

This modular approach was emphasized by the Celestia team at the Cosmosverse event held in Medellín, Colombia, in 2022. Among the highlights is the potential of modular blockchains like Cosmos—the technology upon which Celestia is built—compared to traditional monolithic blockchains.

Modular Software, the heart of Celestia

What really sets Celestia apart is its use of modular software. This is a suite of tools designed to accelerate and simplify implementation time. This software breaks down key blockchain functions into separate components, allowing each developer to adapt each piece according to their specific objectives. The result is more efficient construction.

Celestia calls it Rollkit, a development kit that combines modular software principles with modular blockchain architecture, enabling developers to launch new blockchains with minimal workload.

Minimalism through modularity

The essence of Celestia's minimalism lies precisely in this modularity. Unlike early monolithic blockchains that handle multiple critical functions in a single layer (execution, settlement, consensus, data availability), Celestia primarily focuses on two: data availability and consensus.

Data Availability in Celestia
Data Availability in Celestia

This makes it easy for any rollup or blockchain annexed to Celestia to set its own rules for execution and settlement, and if they wish, even their own consensus. In other words, they don't have to worry about creating infrastructures for data availability and consensus, as Celestia takes care of that.

Data Availability in Celestia

Data availability answers the question: has this data been published? It is essential for the security of any blockchain, as it ensures that anyone can inspect and verify the transaction ledger. However, scaling blockchains presents challenges, as it becomes impractical for users to download all the data.

To address this, Celestia has implemented mechanisms like Data Availability Sampling (DAS). This process involves taking small random samples over multiple rounds to ensure that all transactions have been correctly recorded in the block, achieving 99.99% certainty in data availability.

Data Availability in Celestia
Data Availability in Celestia

Tokenomics and key uses of TIA

TIA, the native token of Celestia, plays a vital role not only in network governance and consensus but also as an effective tool for developers. Celestia will use TIA to secure the network and cover fees, which will be burned to balance the issuance of new tokens.

Key uses of TIA

  • Pay for Data Space (Blobspace): Developers use TIA to access the expansive data space that Celestia offers, thanks to its innovative Data Availability Sampling (DAS) architecture.

  • Quick Start of New Blockchains (Bootstrapping): Starting a blockchain on Celestia is as simple as deploying a smart contract. TIA is used as a gas token and currency, allowing developers to focus on their applications.

  • Participation in Network Governance and Consensus: Like other Cosmos networks, TIA tokens can be delegated to a Celestia validator to participate in governance and receive staking rewards.

TIA token supply
TIA token supply

Genesis Drop of TIA: Don’t miss out!

Celestia has launched the Genesis Drop, an event allowing developers and wallet holders on networks like Ethereum and Cosmos Hub to join Celestia from its genesis block. Invitations have been extended to 7,579 developers and 576,653 addresses on Ethereum, rollups, Cosmos Hub, and Osmosis.

Unclaimed tokens will be distributed among participants who have contributed their Celestia addresses to claim their share of the pie!

From LazyLedger to Celestia

Originally known as LazyLedger, Celestia announced its name change on Twitter, stating: "We've moved! LazyLedger is now CelestiaOrg."

In 2019, LazyLedger emerged with a focus on ensuring the sorting and availability of data related to transactions, allowing consensus participants to verify said availability without needing to download the entire block.

In 2022, Celestia launched several test networks, including Mamaki Testnet, which introduced the Data Availability API. If all goes according to plan, we will soon see the launch of its mainnet!

The Team Behind Celestia

During its transition from LazyLedger to Celestia, the foundation has secured funding rounds that have propelled it towards its goal. Notable investments come from respected firms like Bain Capital Crypto, Polychain Capital Money, Coinbase Ventures, Jump Crypto, FTX Ventures, Placeholder, Galaxy, Delphi Digital, among others, totaling $55 million.

The diverse team leading Celestia has extensive experience in areas such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, and developments outside the blockchain sphere. This blend of sectors and skills has garnered the support the Celestia foundation has received so far. While it’s hard to cover the entire team, we will introduce some of the key roles.

Mustafa Al-Bassam serves as the CEO of Celestia Labs. He previously co-founded Chainspace, an innovative smart contract platform that attracted attention and was acquired by Facebook. Additionally, it's worth mentioning that Mustafa holds a Ph.D. specializing in blockchain scalability from UCL.

John Adler, who serves as CRO at Celestia Labs, brings his prior experience from ConsenSys and his work on Phase 2 of Ethereum 2.0. Adler is notable for having drafted the first specification for an optimistic rollup scheme, drawing inspiration from Mustafa’s research on data availability.

We can’t overlook the contribution of Ismail Koffi, CTO of Celestia Labs. This distinguished research engineer has been a key player in executing several projects, both in and out of the blockchain space, including collaborations with Google UK and Tendermint.

Nick White, before becoming the COO of Celestia Labs, was the co-founder of Harmony, one of the first layer-1 blockchains to implement sharding for improved scalability. His experience in this field has been crucial in shaping the vision and direction of Celestia.

Unique Features of Celestia

  • Efficiency with Tendermint: Although Celestia uses Tendermint for consensus, its uniqueness lies in ordering and replicating all paid transactions without ranking them. The validation of each transaction is delegated to summary nodes on the client's end.

  • Structural Minimalism: Celestia focuses solely on ordering and publishing the data it receives. It does not perform calculations related to that data, simplifying its operation.

  • Data Availability: Blockchains monitor nodes to process only relevant transactions, avoiding the need to download full blocks. This represents a significant saving, boosting the scalability of Celestia and chains built on top of it.

  • Innovative Decoupling: Through "Optimistic Rollups," Celestia separates consensus from execution. Unlike monolithic blockchains that integrate execution and consensus into a single layer, Celestia introduces superior modularity.

  • Modular Flexibility: Celestia simplifies the process of building blockchains, making it unnecessary to establish data availability and consensus foundations from scratch. For this, Celestia offers its minimalist structure to any rollup or blockchain that wishes to implement modularity.

  • Alignment with Cosmos: Integrated with the Cosmos SDK, Celestia embraces the vision of building blockchains with shared security but are also autonomous and tailored to each developer's needs.

  • Pioneering in Modularity: Although Cosmos SDK and Tendermint introduced the idea of modularity, Celestia raises the standard with its software that gives developers greater freedom to define operational rules.

What is the Future of Celestia?

Celestia aims to be comparable to a universal Lego block. Under this perspective, its construction model can be seen as the cornerstone for the creation or adaptation of various architectures, backed by the belief that modularity is essential for achieving scalability and application diversity.

The creators of Celestia believe that the key to their future lies in their flexibility: it does not impose rules for the chains that integrate; each is free to establish its own regulations. Its main objective is to guarantee data availability and consensus, but even in this last aspect, developers can decide whether to adopt Celestia's consensus or not. That is the flexibility they aim to offer.

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Gloria Zulay


What is Celestia?
Tokenomics and key uses of TIA
From LazyLedger to Celestia
Unique Features of Celestia
What is the Future of Celestia?

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