Today marks the next phase of testing for the Metis PoS Sequencer Pool. Moving beyond the single-sequencer model currently used by other Layer 2 Rollups, Metis will enable multiple parties to run sequencers, thus enhancing the network’s security and decentralization. Starting today, five sequencer node operators will begin sequencing transactions on the Metis Holesky Testnet.
This key phase sets the stage for a momentous occasion that will carry more tangible benefits for the broader Metis community: Community Testing of the Metis PoS Sequencer Pool.
On January 3rd, Community Testing for the Metis PoS Sequencer Pool will go live. Metis is on the verge of becoming the first Ethereum rollup with a decentralized sequencer, a major step for Ethereum scalability, and the community will now be able to directly take part in the journey to rollup decentralization. The Proof-of-Stake Sequencer Pool community testing will be the perfect opportunity for users to learn, interact with existing and new ecosystem dApps on Holesky testnet, and get rewarded for it.
The story of scalability solutions on Ethereum is a very interesting one. It starts with State Channels, a Layer 2 scaling technique that allows participants to transact directly with each other in a private channel, off the main blockchain, reducing transaction fees and increasing speed. State Channels have been around since the early days of Ethereum, but only gained significant attention around 2015-2016.
Then, Sidechains came along. These are independent blockchains that run parallel to the main Ethereum blockchain. They have their own consensus mechanisms but are connected to the Ethereum main chain. Sidechains can operate with different rules and features, providing scalability by offloading transactions from the main chain. Their applications started gaining traction around 2016-2017, but the security tradeoff they carry prompted the Ethereum community to go deeper.
This is when Plasma arrived. A framework proposed by Vitalik Buterin and Joseph Poon in 2017, Plasma uses child chains that report to the main Ethereum chain (the parent chain). Each child chain can handle transactions and smart contracts independently, reducing the load on the main Ethereum blockchain. The first practical implementations started appearing in the next few years. However, Plasma also had significant downsides, including being too complex to implement and maintain. It needed fraud proofs and the ability to handle edge cases such as mass exits; users also needed to wait for the challenge period to withdraw funds; and early versions of Plasma were limited to simple transactions and didn’t support complex smart contracts, limiting their use cases.
Finally, Rollups arrived. Rollups are a Layer 2 solution that performs transaction execution outside the main Ethereum chain (off-chain) but stores transaction data on-chain. There are Optimistic Rollups and zk-Rollups. Optimistic Rollups assume transactions are valid by default and only run computation in the event of a dispute. zk-Rollups use zero-knowledge proofs to validate all transactions.
Rollups are the most promising scalability solutions to date, but in their current state, they also come with downsides. The only way rollups can fully inherit Ethereum’s underlying security is by having a decentralized fraud/validity proof system, and a decentralized sequencer. Rollups such as Arbitrum, Optimism, and Metis have been working on introducing fraud-proof and validity-proof systems to networks.
The one thing no rollup has prioritized, until now, is sequencer decentralization. By not decentralizing the sequencer, the network becomes vulnerable to a single-point-of-failure, and can be subject to censorship. Despite those risks, the foundations that run Rollups have a strong incentive not to move beyond the single-sequencer framework: by running a single sequencer, the founders of these Rollups maintain nearly full control over the network and get to accumulate all revenue generated from said sequencer. Terrific news for the foundations, terrible news for the community, which gets hurt twice – once by having to deal with the inherent security risk of a single sequencer, and again by being only passive participants in the network, rather than being able to share sequencer revenue with the foundation/founders.
Metis is on the verge of becoming the first rollup on Ethereum to decentralize its sequencer, thus mitigating those security concerns and sharing sequencer revenue with its users, continuing the community-oriented approach that’s defined our project since the day we launched on mainnet more than two years ago. A distributed sequencer pool will enable key features such as seamless and safe sequencer rotation, expulsion of malfunctioning or malicious entities, and enhanced network stability. Additionally, the Proof-of-Stake Sequencer Pool will enable:
We’re very close to achieving this milestone. But why should the community have to wait until sequencer mainnet launch to accrue rewards?
With that in mind, we’re kicking off a Community Testing campaign, encouraging users to try out numerous dApps on the Metis Holesky Testnet through a series of different activities, with rewards waiting for community members who help us test the robustness of the network under the new, multiple-sequencer framework.
Starting January 3rd, users will be able to contribute to the testing for our upcoming Proof-of-Stake Sequencer Pool for a period of four weeks. You will be able to explore dApps, existing and new, on our Holesky testnet. By completing the different activities, users will earn points that will be claimable at the end of this four-week period.
Community Testing will consist of two seasons:
Season 1 will be a two-week period from January 3rd to January 17th, allowing users to interact with Metis dApps deployed on Holesky testnet. This season will allow developers to stress-test the sequencer pool, making any potential adjustments before mainnet launch, while enabling users to try existing and brand new, not-yet-revealed(!) Metis dApps on Testnet. Some of the dApps included are:
Highly efficient single-sided stableswap that is also enabling a quad crypto pool with Balancer’s weighted-pools mechanism.
Decentralized exchange with constant product liquidity pools, launchpad, and staking mechanisms for its governance token.
Perpetual contracts DEX, allowing users to trade major tokens and METIS with up to 50x leverage. Tethys has a dual-token model that also allows users to position themselves against traders: #TLP.
Soon, a new, native liquid staking protocol will be announced. That liquid staking platform will be included in sequencer pool Community Testing, allowing users to see what kinds of rewards await via a liquid version of staked METIS.
These are just some of the protocols that will take part in Season 1. Season 2 will be revealed near the end of Season 1, in mid-January.
We're kicking off a new chapter in our story, fueled by community ownership, decentralization, and innovation. And we can’t wait for you to be part of it!