Mustafa Al-Bassam, the trust-minimization engineer and co-founder of Celestia, elucidated the five cornerstone values governing the social layer of the Celestia network in a comprehensive post on 12th October 2023. These precepts are devised to bolster the trust-minimizing facet of the Celestia blockchain, ensuring a well-aligned community capable of consensus on protocol amendments.
The pivotal essence of Celestia’s social layer is the belief that off-chain governance supersedes token-holder governance. As Al-Bassam quoted David D. Clark of IETF, “We reject kings, presidents and voting. We believe in rough consensus and running code.” This framework postulates that no faction, regardless of size, can unilaterally alter or breach protocol rules. The canonical fork, along with the state transition function of Celestia’s blockchain, is fundamentally governed by its social and ecosystem layers, not by token voting or validators.
Celestia places users at the zenith of its network hierarchy. This approach negates the necessity for users to place trust in centralized endpoints or committees, which are often seen as breaches of decentralization and Web3 principles. In lieu, the Celestia community has been ardently developing and promoting the use of trust-minimized light nodes. These nodes empower users to independently verify the chain’s integrity employing data availability sampling techniques.
Embracing a positive-sum crypto ecosystem, Celestia’s community champions modularism over maximalism. The base layer of Celestia is crafted as a generalized data availability layer, maintaining neutrality towards all execution environments and applications built atop it. This stance prevents any undue favor towards a particular execution environment that might hamper experimentation with others.
Acknowledging itself as a public good, Celestia aims for economic sustainability by delivering high-grade blockspace at scale, targeting a user base in billions instead of fostering artificial resource scarcity. The pricing of resources is strategized to achieve economic sustainability without being excessively extractive.
A cardinal design decision of Celestia is the minimization of on-chain state, thereby architecting an overhead-reduced blockchain optimized for data availability. This setup excludes any enshrined on-chain smart contract environment for now. Anticipated network enhancements are directed towards preserving a minimal state machine, allowing rollups to validate Celestia’s canonical chain without the overheads of unrelated smart contract verifications, and concurrently reducing state bloat for both rollups and Celestia.
The elucidation of these values not only underscores the ethos driving Celestia but also fosters a conducive environment for user-centric and trust-minimized blockchain ecosystems.
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