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Layer-2 network to launch a decentralized sequencer pool

This Ethereum layer-2 platform pioneered a novel approach to a critical component of blockchain transactions, effectively mitigating vulnerabilities associated with centralized structures.



Source: Cointelegraph

In their quest for scalability and cost-effectiveness, many layer-2 networks adopt a centralized approach to on-chain transaction processing, introducing a single point of failure vulnerability. The Metis blockchain, however, has pioneered a distributed sequencer pool to improve security and decentralization.

The Ethereum blockchain introduced smart contracts to automate certain events on the network, laying the foundation of decentralized finance (DeFi). As the DeFi ecosystem continues its exponential growth, however, the limitations of Ethereum have become clear.

Despite last year’s migration to proof-of-stake, partially addressing the scalability issues of the Ethereum blockchain, the Ethereum network remains expensive when it comes to gas fees — the cost of each transaction executed on the blockchain. On top of that, the huge decentralized world built on Ethereum makes network congestion on the base layer a regular occurrence.

Thanks to the decentralized and open-source nature of the Ethereum blockchain, developers have built numerous networks on top of the base layer — called “layer-2 blockchains” — to fix specific limitations. Soon after, layer-2 (L2) networks that offer faster transaction speed or lower gas fees, including Arbitrum and Optimism, emerged.

Sequencer — key to order on blockchain

However, one common aspect found in most layer-2 projects is that they rely on a single sequencer, which creates a vulnerability linked to centralization. But what exactly is a sequencer?

In blockchain terms, a sequencer operates like a traffic controller for on-chain transactions. A blockchain sequencer first collects on-chain transactions that would be included in a specific block. It puts transactions in order — an essential step for the network to function normally. The sequencer then places those transactions in a block, ensuring the block is filled correctly and in the right order.

Relying on a single sequencer for ordering and placing on-chain transactions introduces a critical vulnerability known as a single point of failure (SPOF). If this sequencer malfunctions due to a cyberattack, technical glitch, or outside intervention, the entire blockchain network comes to a standstill. Additionally, a single sequencer may struggle to handle the increasing transaction volume, leading to scalability issues. To address these concerns, alternative solutions can be explored.

Decentralizing the network controller

Metis, a layer-2 Ethereum scaling solution, has introduced a decentralized sequencer pool to increase the transaction speed and throughput of blockchain while maintaining Ethereum’s decentralization and security. Going beyond the single-sequencer model used by Arbitrum, Optimism, and other L2 projects, Metis is rolling out a distributed pool of sequencers — a fresh concept with built-in risk management that keeps the network up even if one of the many sequencers in the pool goes down for any reason.

The sequencer pool model works with Metis’ existing decentralized peer-to-peer validators and block producer network to enable smooth and secure sequencer transitions while removing faulty or malicious nodes.

The architecture of Metis’ decentralized sequencer pool. Source: Metis

With the decentralized approach, individual sequencer nodes can be created by whitelisted users. Metis has also announced a staking mechanism to work alongside the sequencer pool. Users will need to supply many locked METIS, the native token of the Metis network, to operate a sequencer node in the pool. By incentivizing staking with yields, Metis aims to get more sequencers onboard and gradually decrease the circulating supply.

Community-driven network

Loyal to the decentralization ethos, Metis plans to utilize the power of community to expand its network while keeping its network highly accessible with an easy-to-use Web3 building environment. The platform offers a streamlined user experience with gas fees that cost “less than a penny” while providing one of the fastest transaction speeds found in any L2 solution.

To foster community engagement and encourage participation in the upcoming launch of its decentralized sequencer, Metis is hosting its Community Testing event. This event will allow testers to earn rewards and contribute to the development of the project before the sequencer pool goes live.

“Metis is excited to roll out the first-ever layer 2 sequencer pool,” said Tom Ngo, project lead at Metis.

“We invite the entire blockchain and crypto communities to participate in Community Testing. By joining, users will be helping the core blockchain mission of decentralization while accruing attractive opportunities for each tester.”

As the blockchain ecosystem grows with new projects, keeping the main pillars of decentralization intact is crucial. With its innovative approach to how blockchain operates, Metis’ decentralized sequencer pool addresses the SPOF vulnerability while keeping its mission of rewarding the blockchain community in focus.

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