Celestia Rival Avail Inks Agreement With Starkware as Blockchain Data Race Heats Up

Avail's new "data availability" solution, currently in testing, and Madara, which is Starkware's sequencer, are both expected to go live in early 2024. They might be used in conjunction to create new application chains or "appchains."

AccessTimeIconDec 20, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 7:01 p.m. UTC
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Avail, a rival to Celestia in the race to offer data solutions in the Ethereum blockchain ecosystem, reached an agreement with top developer Starkware to play a key role in new networks starting next year.

Under the agreement disclosed Wednesday, Avail will provide its "data availability" solution to new application-chains built using Starkware’s Madara, a so-called decentralized sequencer. Starkware is the main developer behind StarkNet, a leading layer-2 blockchain in the Ethereum ecosystem.

A sequencer is a key component of a layer-2 network that bundles up transactions from users and passes them along to the main Ethereum blockchain.

Avail, still in testnet, is projected to go live in the first quarter of next year, and Madara is expected in the second quarter.

The news comes as data availability (DA) solutions are gaining wider credence in the Ethereum ecosystem, since they are designed to drastically reduce costs for new layer-2 networks that generate reams of transaction data. Such systems are at the heart of the industry tilt toward "modular" blockchains, where developers are moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach to more of an à la carte model where separate components can be plugged in to fulfill different functions.

According to Starkware, the Madara sequencer allows for the creation of customizable application-chains or "appchains" and even "layer-3" blockchains. An appchain is where builders of new, smaller networks can pick and choose their own components or features, rather than relying on an existing network with already-configured properties.

In a blog post in July, the developer wrote that "Madara will offer developers a range of data availability (DA) schemes to choose from."

Avail’s main competitor, Celestia, went live in October, and since then has struck a deal to make its DA solution available to the layer-2 developers Polygon and Arbitrum. Avail used to be a part of Polygon Labs, but spun out on its own in March.

Besides reducing costs, the teams say additional benefits could come from speed. According to a press release seen by CoinDesk, Madara rollups will be able to achieve finality in roughly one minute when using Avail’s DA layer.

“We worked very closely with the Starkware and Madara teams developing the DA interface due to common interest in enabling scalable, decentralized and affordable DA,” said Anurag Arjun, the founder of Avail, in an email to CoinDesk.

In July, Avail released its data attestation bridge on testnet, aimed to help secure data off-chain.

UPDATE (December 20, 16:55 UTC): Adds Arbitrum also tapped Celestia for DA solution.

Edited by Bradley Keoun.


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Margaux Nijkerk

Margaux Nijkerk reports on the Ethereum protocol and L2s. A graduate of Johns Hopkins and Emory universities, she has a masters in International Affairs & Economics. She holds a small amount of ETH and other altcoins.

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