Celestia, the world’s first data availability blockchain network, launched its mainnet on 31 October 2023. The project also released over $300 million worth of cryptocurrencies called TIA during its launch.
What is Celestia? Why is the Celestia launch such a significant development for the crypto world? What is the use of TIA tokens? We answer all your Celestia questions and more below.
What is Celestia?
Celestia is a modular blockchain network that provides developers with the infrastructure to build and maintain blockchains. Specifically, Celestia allows other blockchains to use it as a data availability and consensus layer.
When used as a data availability layer, blockchains can securely publish their transactions on Celestia, allowing their nodes to remain slim on a growing blockchain. As a consensus layer, Celestia’s network of nodes check and validate the stored data.
— Celestia (@CelestiaOrg) October 31, 2023
Understanding Blockchain Modularity
Celestia’s mainnet went live on 31 October 2023 and has been heralded as the start of the “modular era” in the blockchain industry. But what is blockchain modularity, and why is it significant for the crypto world?
Blockchain modularity is a blockchain design concept that separates the essential functions performed by a blockchain. Early cryptocurrency blockchains like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) perform all the tasks required of a blockchain – data availability, consensus, execution, and settlement. These are known as monolithic blockchains.
Modular blockchains, meanwhile, specialize and optimize to perform a specific function. Blockchain modularity aims to provide the infrastructure that is optimized to help blockchains achieve mass scale. The modular design is also intended to make it easier and faster for developers to deploy new blockchains and decentralized applications.
Here is an example of a modular blockchain system. A layer-two (L2) rollup executes transactions on-chain, makes transaction data available on Celestia, and depends on Ethereum for settlement.
How Does Celestia Work?
Celestia is the world’s first data availability network, but what does data availability mean, and what problem Celestia is solving?
Let us first understand what data availability is. Data availability refers to the confidence that any network participant can download transaction data at any time to verify a block. It is a security measure that allows anyone to inspect the blockchain ledger and verify transactions on it.
The main bottleneck here is that nodes are required to download the complete transaction data to independently verify blocks. This is a significant scaling problem as downloading all transaction data of a growing blockchain becomes difficult for normal nodes (only full nodes have the capacity to download the entire blockchain data).
Celestia solves this problem by utilizing a technology called data availability sampling (DAS).
Using DAS technology, nodes that cannot download the entire blockchain data (called light nodes) need to sample only a tiny portion of the block data to verify whether the block has been published.
Light nodes conduct multiple rounds of random sampling. As more selection rounds are completed, the confidence that the data is available increases. Once a predetermined confidence level (eg. 99%) is reached, the light node will consider the available block data.
With the help of DAS technology, data availability solutions like Celestia are expected to help blockchains like Ethereum scale without undermining its security. L2 rollups – key to Ethereum’s scaling roadmap – post “summaries” or “proofs” of transactions to the L1 layer for settlement. If the transactions are not available for verification (i.e. data availability), the rollup operator can act dishonestly.
Celestia Debuts TIA Token
Celestia released its native cryptocurrency called TIA alongside its main net launch on 31 October 2023.
The project had earmarked 60 million TIA tokens (6% of total supply) to be airdropped during genesis to developers, researchers, highly-active stakers, and addresses on Ethereum, Ethereum rollups, Cosmos, and Osmosis.
Here is all you need to know about the TIA token.
- Celestia’s TIA token debuted on the open market at around $2.
- TIA/USDT hit a high of $2.5 on its first day of trade.
- TIA market capitalization stood at over $330 million as of 9 November 2023.
- Over 141 million TIA were in circulation at the time of writing.
- Celestia’s TIA token has a hard cap of 1 billion tokens.
- TIA token is designed to inflate at 8% in its first year
- TIA inflation is designed to decrease by 10% each year until an annual inflation floor of 1.5% is reached
Uses of TIA
- Developers must pay fees in TIA for Celestia’s data availability solutions.
- Celestia-based rollups will use TIA as a gas token and currency.
- Being a proof-of-stake chain, Celestia will use TIA for staking.
TIA stakers will be able to participate in the decentralized governance of Celestia
Celestia competitors: NEAR, Avail and EigenDA emerge as rivals
Data availability solutions fit like a glove to Ethereum’s rollup-centric roadmap. It comes as no surprise that several Celestia rivals have come into the foray in recent weeks.
- NEAR DA
Near Foundation – the non-profit organization behind L1 blockchain NEAR – introduced the NEAR Data Availability Layer (NEAR DA) at its annual conference on 8 November 2023. Rollup solutions Starknet and Caldera are among the initial users of NEAR DA.
“It’s about reliability and integration with the Ethereum ecosystem. Supporting Ethereum L2s and high-quality projects launching app-chains,” said Near Foundation.
Avail is a DA layer which was formerly known as Polygon Avail. Polygon Labs spun off Avail in March 2023. The project is headed by Polygon co-founder Anurag Arjun and their team is based in Dubai, UAE.
Avail’s approach is different from Celestia as the former uses a consensus mechanism called BABE and GRANDPA, inherited from blockchain protocol Polkadot.
Avail is currently in testnet, as of 9 November 2023.
EigenDA is a DA layer being built on top of Ethereum by EigenLabs – the company behind Ethereum restaking solution EigenLayer.
EigenDA is specifically designed with the Ethereum ecosystem in mind. EigenDA aims to allow Ethereum L1 stakers and validators to support critical functions other than consensus, by allowing them to perform validation tasks for DA layers like EigenDA.
EigenDA is expected to go to testnet in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Will there be a second Celestia airdrop?
Celestia has not made any announcement regarding a second TIA airdrop, as of 9 November 2023.
There are several clickbait articles circulating on the internet talking about “Celestia airdrop Season 2” and “TIA airdrop 2.” Readers are advised to be suspicious of unverified links and announcements on social media platforms and influencer blogs.
Interested parties can acquire TIA tokens on crypto exchanges. Staking TIA tokens is another way to getting more TIA tokens.
What Next for Celestia?
Developers at Celestia shed some light on the future of this promising blockchain project. Here is what the crypto community can expect from the team shortly.
In Celestia’s own words:
“Mainnet launch signifies more than just Celestia going live. It’s the start of a new era. An era of verifiability where anyone can run a secure light node. An era of collaboration in which blockchains can openly build on top of each other. An era of abundant blockspace that allows any developer to deploy their own blockchain.”
- Increase block support from 2MB at genesis to 8MB, upgradeable via on-chain governance. Aims for 1GB blocks later.
- Support for pruning historical transaction data.
- Light nodes that verify the L1 state transitions.
- Deploying Celestia to Ethereum Mainnet.
- Light node network monitoring.
- Light nodes on smartphones.
Amid a crypto bear market, the blockchain community has once again showcased focus and determination to release a product that can significantly influence the way blockchains are designed henceforth.
Celestia’s data availability solutions have come at an apt time. It is well poised to support technological innovations in the crypto sector that are being led by Ethereum’s rollup-centric roadmap.