Understanding Celestia in 10 questions

Chorus One
Chorus One
October 31, 2023
5 min read
October 31, 2023
5 min read

Celestia is the first modular blockchain network that is optimized for ordering transaction data and making it available. It solves the scalability problem of a blockchain without sacrificing decentralization, and accomplishes this by separating execution from consensus and addressing data availability challenges through a technology called data availability sampling.

To simplify Celestia's purpose and the essential aspects of its modular design, our Research Expert, Kam Benbrik, delves into the topic by answering ten crucial questions. Dive in below!

  1. What exactly is the core concept of a modular blockchain, and how does it differ from traditional monolithic blockchains?

In a monolithic blockchain, tasks are concentrated within a single stack, where nodes handle four core functions, including consensus, data availability, settlement and execution.

On the other hand, modular blockchains specialize by delegating tasks to separate layers, forming part of a broader "modular stack" for customized objectives. This modular approach enhances scalability and offers developers more control and  sovereignty to tailor their execution environments to their project's needs.

  1. How does Celestia address the data availability issue within the blockchain space?

Celestia's data availability layer introduces innovative features like data availability sampling (DAS) and Namespaced Merkle trees (NMTs). DAS allows light nodes to verify data without downloading entire blocks, reducing costs compared to monolithic chains, while NMTs enable execution and settlement layers on Celestia to download transactions that are only relevant to them. Celestia offers its data availability layer to other chains for publishing data by paying for blobspace. Backed by Tendermint Consensus and a sovereign validator set, Celestia ensures further scalability and decentralization of the network.

  1. Can you provide specific examples of challenges that monolithic blockchains face regarding data availability and how Celestia overcomes these challenges?

A significant challenge that monolithic blockchains, like Ethereum, face in terms of data availability is the high cost of publishing data. For instance, Arbitrum One pays approximately $112,000 per day to Ethereum for its data availability requirements, translating to an average cost of $0.15 per transaction. In contrast, Celestia offers a cost-effective solution for publishing data. It provides an alternative security model and economic advantage by allowing costs to scale with the number of nodes, avoiding the capacity limitations of Ethereum. This makes Celestia an appealing option for both data availability and serving as a foundational layer within an ecosystem.

  1. What role does data availability sampling (DAS) play in Celestia's technology, and how does it benefit users and validators?

Data availability sampling  allows light nodes to confirm data availability without the need to download an entire block, resulting in efficient and cost-effective verification of large blocks. It works by randomly selecting portions of a block for users to download and check, ensuring that data is available with a high level of confidence. This approach not only reduces the resource requirements. However, The number of light nodes needed also depends on the block size, larger blocks require more light nodes. One important assumption is that light nodes should be connected to at least one honest full node for DAS to work effectively

  1. How does Celestia ensure decentralization?

Celestia ensures decentralization through its permissionless Proof-of-Stake structure using the Cosmos SDK and Tendermint consensus.. Much like other networks within the Cosmos ecosystem, Celestia allows users to actively participate in securing the network by delegating their tokens (TIA) to validators, such as Chorus One. This PoS mechanism empowers users to play a crucial role in the network's security, governance decisions and decentralization, making it a collaborative and community-driven ecosystem.

  1. In what ways does Celestia leverage its modular structure to enhance scalability compared to monolithic blockchains?

Celestia's modular design makes it easier for users to confirm that all the data in a block is available without downloading the entire block. Instead, it uses a technique called data availability sampling, where light nodes only check small, random parts of the block. This way, it's much more efficient than traditional monolithic blockchains where everyone has to download the entire block. The more nodes do this sampling, the better the network can handle data, leading to faster and more secure data verification. This approach improves scalability compared to monolithic blockchains.

  1. What are some practical applications or use cases where Celestia's approach to data availability stands out?

Two standout applications that utilize Celestia's data availability layer include:

  1. Eclipse: Eclipse Mainnet, a speedy Ethereum Layer 2 solution, uses Celestia as its data availability layer. It combines Ethereum for settlement, the Solana Virtual Machine (SVM) for execution, and Celestia for scalable data availability. This ensures fast and efficient transaction processing, making Eclipse an attractive choice for users looking for high-performance Layer 2 solutions.
  1. Astria: Astria replaces centralized sequencers with a decentralized network, allowing multiple rollups to share a single network of sequencers. This shared network ensures censorship resistance, fast block confirmations, and cross-rollup composability. By incorporating Celestia for data availability, the Astria EVM overcomes scalability and decentralization limitations, providing a robust solution for various applications.

8. What are the complexities of modular blockchains like Celestia, and what developments or improvements can we anticipate in the near future?

Modular blockchains like Celestia come with added complexity due to the need for advanced mechanisms such as data availability sampling and fraud proofs to ensure the security of the network. These complexities are essential for maintaining the flexibility and scalability that modular blockchains offer. Additionally, the success of Celestia and similar projects depends on attracting projects and rollups to build on top of them.

9. What is the role of $TIA, Celestia’s native token?

The native token of Celestia, known as TIA, plays a multifaceted role within the ecosystem.

Staking: Firstly, TIA is used for staking, allowing users to actively participate in securing the network through delegation to validators like Chorus One. This proof-of-stake (PoS) mechanism enhances network security and decentralization, fostering a collaborative and community-driven environment.

Governance: Secondly, TIA is utilized for governance purposes, enabling users to create, engage in, and vote on proposals that shape network design and functionality.

Paying for blobspace:  Lastly, Layer 1 and Layer 2 networks can use TIA to pay for Celestia blockspace, facilitating the publication of their data on Celestia's data availability layer. This comprehensive utility makes TIA a vital component of the Celestia ecosystem. (For detailed information, refer to

10. What is the difference between sovereign roll ups and smart contract roll ups?

Sovereign rollups, such as those on Celestia, differ from smart contract rollups like Ethereum in how they handle settlement and their relationship with the underlying blockchain. Smart contract rollups post their blocks to Ethereum through an enshrined smart contract, effectively creating a bridge between the rollup and Ethereum. Ethereum acts as a 'baby chain' for the rollup, and the bridge contract interprets and processes the rollup's data. In contrast, sovereign rollups, like those on Celestia, directly submit their blocks as raw data to the chain without relying on smart contracts. The Celestia consensus and data availability layer don't interpret rollup data, and the rollup's blocks are independently managed by its nodes. This approach provides autonomy to rollup chains, and they determine their canonical chain without a bridge to the settlement layer, allowing for greater flexibility and independence.

Wrapping Up

Celestia is a modular network that makes it easy for builders to launch their own blockchain by focusing solely on data availability and allows developers to easily deploy blockchains on top of Celestia, as easily as deploying smart contracts.

Users can get involved with TIA by securing the network through delegation to validators like Chorus One and enhancing the collaborative and community-driven environment of the network. Check out our comprehensive guide on how you can stake your TIA with Chorus One!

About Chorus One

Chorus One is one of the biggest institutional staking providers globally operating infrastructure for 45+ Proof-of-Stake networks including Ethereum, Cosmos, Solana, Avalanche, and Near amongst others. Since 2018, we have been at the forefront of the PoS industry and now offer easy enterprise-grade staking solutions, industry-leading research, and also invest in some of the most cutting-edge protocols through Chorus Ventures.

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