A look at the recent developments in the public chain infrastructure track that are worth paying attention to

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The execution layer, DA layer, and settlement layer have each undergone some different technical advances in the past few months.

Original author: Lao Bai (X: @Wuhuoqiu )

Recently in the primary market, the hottest track is undoubtedly AI, followed by BTC. 80% of the projects discussed every day are concentrated in these two tracks. Personally, I can talk about 5 or 6 AI projects a day at most.

It is foreseeable that the AI bubble will reach its peak in the next two years. With the launch of hundreds of new AI projects, the market value of the AI track will reach its peak. When the bubble finally bursts and everything is in chaos, a unicorn that truly finds the AI X Crypto fit will be born, pushing this track and the entire industry forward.

So in the current AI overheated environment, let’s calm down and take a look at what changes have taken place in the infrastructure level, especially in the public chain infrastructure track in recent months? Some of the new things are worth mentioning.

ETH, or the further deconstruction of the monolithic chain

When Celestia first proposed the concept of modularization and the DA layer, the market actually took a lot of time to digest and understand it. Now this concept has been deeply rooted in peoples minds, and various RaaS infrastructures have flooded to the point where the number of infrastructures > the number of applications > the number of users. (RaaS: the abbreviation of Rollup-as-a-Service, refers to the provision of ready-made Rollup products and services to help application developers quickly start Rollup)

The execution layer, DA layer, and settlement layer have undergone some different technical progress in the past few months. Each layer has derived new technical solutions, and even the concept of the settlement layer is no longer exclusive to ETH. We will briefly talk about the representative technologies of each layer.

Execution Layer

The hottest concept in the execution layer is undoubtedly parallel EVM, represented by Monad, Sei, and MegaETH. Some existing projects such as FTM and Canto are also planning to upgrade in this direction. However, just as not all ZK projects will protect privacy, projects labeled as parallel EVM actually have different technical routes and ultimate goals.

Take a picture of Sei as an intuitive demonstration. It is obvious that under optimistic circumstances, the performance improvement from the existing sequential processing to parallel processing is still very obvious.

A look at the recent developments in the public chain infrastructure track that are worth paying attention to

Parallel EVM can actually be divided into several different technical routes:

1) From the perspective of how transactions are carried out in parallel - there is nothing new under the sun, except the difference between a priori and a posteriori

Solana and Sui are representatives of a priori, requiring transactions to explicitly declare which parts of the chain state they have modified, so that before packaging the block, they can detect whether there are state conflicts (such as access to the same AMM pool) in advance, and if so, discard the conflicting transactions.

Post-hoc is also called optimistic parallelism, represented by Aptos BlockSTM, which means that transactions are collected assuming that there is no conflict, and then tested after execution. If conflicting transactions are found, the transaction is declared invalid, the result is refreshed, and re-executed, and this step is repeated until all transactions in the block are executed. Sei, Monad, MegaETH, and Canto use similar solutions.

We have also seen parallel solutions in the primary market for state conflict scenarios (such as access to the same AMM pool mentioned above), but the engineering seems relatively complex and we are not sure whether it is commercially feasible. It is still under evaluation.

2) From the degree of emphasis on parallel EVM - can also be divided into two schools

One is Monad, represented by Sei, which takes how to trade in parallel as the main idea for capacity expansion, that is, parallelism is the main narrative. For example, in addition to optimistic parallel processing, Monad also has a specially developed MonadDB, and asynchronous I/O specifically cooperates with parallel processing.

The other is the idea of Fantom, Solana, and MegaETH. Parallelism is one of the expansion solutions, but it is only one of them. Parallelism is an auxiliary narrative, and performance improvement depends more on other technical solutions.

For example, Fantoms Sonic upgrade focuses on the FVM virtual machine + and the optimized Lachesis consensus mechanism. Solanas next phase will focus on the modular architecture of the new Firedancer client, optimized network communication mechanisms and signature verification, etc.

The goal of MegaETH is to realize Realtime Blockchain. First, based on the newly developed Reth high-performance client of Paradigm, further optimization and improvement have been made in many aspects, such as the state synchronization mechanism of the full node (only synchronizing the state difference instead of all data), the hardware design of the Sequencer (a large amount of high-performance RAM with storage function for state access to avoid slow disk I/O), and the data structure improvement of Merkle Trie. This is equivalent to a comprehensive improvement in software, hardware, data structure, disk IO, network communication, transaction sorting and parallel processing, pushing the performance ceiling of EVM to the limit and approaching Realtime Blockchain.

DA layer

There is no particularly big technological iteration at the DA layer, so the competition in this track is far less intense than at the execution layer, and there are only a few main players.

ETHs CallData has been upgraded to Blob, and the fees of each Layer 2 have dropped significantly. Now ETH has become a less expensive DA.

Celestias greater role is that after its launch, as the first project to propose the concept of the DA layer, it has raised the DA track from the ceiling of 2 billion FDV to 20 billion, and since then, the pattern and imagination have been opened up. Many new Layer 2 Appchains naturally choose Celestia as their first choice of DA. (FDV means fully diluted valuation, which is a valuation indicator derived from the token price * total volume)

Avail has become independent from Polygon. Technically speaking, it is more like an enhanced version of Celestia. For example, it uses Polkadots Grandpa+BABE consensus mechanism. Compared with Celestias Tendermint, it can theoretically support the decentralization of more nodes. It also supports Validity Proof, which Celestia does not support, etc. Of course, the technical differences are far less important than the ecology. Avail still needs to catch up in terms of ecology.

EigenDA was also launched together with the EigenLayer mainnet two days ago. As one of the strongest narratives and the most commercially cooperative projects in this round, I personally feel that the adoption rate of EigenDA will not be low. Theoretically, as long as it feels safe and the price is cheap, not many projects really care whether you use Validity Proof or Fraud Proof, whether DAS supports it, etc.

The following three DAs are worth mentioning:

1) Near DA

Near is a magical public chain. It was originally designed for sharding and is still doing it now. But while doing sharding, it also did DA. It is cheaper than Celestia and supports fast settlement of Layer 2.

Chain abstraction - Recently Near launched chain signatures, which allow users to request signatures for transactions on any chain through a single NEAR account;

AI - Its founder illia is one of the eight Transformer companies, and the one who was tapped on the shoulder by Huang Renxun at the NVIDIA conference. It is now planning to hire AI engineers, and the official website will release relevant announcements next month... Hexagonal Warrior, I also threw it into the DA track.


Because BTCs Layer 1 does not support smart contracts and cannot be directly settled, dozens of BTC EVM Layer 2s are now basically using BTC as DA. The only difference is whether to throw ZK Proof directly onto BTC or throw the Hash of ZK Proof onto it, as if they cannot call themselves BTC Layer 2 if they dont do this.

Recently, I encountered a new project that said, I dont pretend anymore, I am ETH Layer 2, DA settlement is all on ETH, but I serve the BTC ecosystem! Its quite funny... The only alternative expansion plan is RGB++ launched by CKB. In this framework, CKB has become a DA-like existence, and BTC has become the settlement layer of RGB++ because of the black technology of UTXO isomorphic binding.

3) New DA

I will talk about two new ideas for DA, but I won’t mention the names of the projects. One is to combine DA with AI. In addition to being a high-performance DA, it can also serve as a storage layer for large AI models, training data, and training trajectories. The other is to improve the error correction code mechanism of the underlying DA such as Celestia, which can provide a more robust network status in an unstable state such as a dynamic network (several nodes randomly go offline in each round).

Settlement Layer

Originally, this layer was almost exclusively owned by ETH, with DA competing with Celestia and executing its own Layer 2. Except for settlement, other chains like Solana and Aptos do not have Layer 2 yet, and BTC’s Layer 2 cannot be used and BTC cannot be used as settlement. Currently, the only settlement layer you can think of is ETH.

However, this situation will change soon. We have seen several new projects moving in the direction mentioned at the beginning of the article. Some old projects are also beginning to transform in this direction, that is, the ZK verification/settlement layer will further deconstruct ETH (stealing ETHs business).

Why did this concept come about? The reason is that running contracts on ETH Layer 1 to verify ZK Proof is not the best option in theory:

From a technical point of view, in order to verify the correctness of ZK Proof, developers need to write verification contracts based on Solidity according to the ZK project and the ZK Proof System they choose. Among them, it is necessary to rely on a lot of cryptographic algorithms, such as the need to support different elliptic curves. These cryptographic algorithms are usually relatively complex, and the EVM-Solidity architecture is not the optimal platform for implementing these complex cryptographic algorithms. For some ZK projects, the cost of writing and verifying these verification contracts is also very high. This has hindered some ZK ecosystems from joining the EVM ecosystem natively to some extent, so ZK-friendly languages such as Cario, Noir, Leo, and Lurk can only be verified on their own Layer 1. At the same time, it is always difficult to turn around when updating or upgrading these things on ETH.

In terms of fees, although the protection fee DA paid by Layer 2 accounts for the majority, ZK contract verification also requires Gas fees, and verification on Ethereum is definitely not a cheap option. In addition, ETH Gas fees soar from time to time and turn into a noble chain, the verification cost will also be greatly affected.

As a result, new ZK verification/settlement layer concept projects have emerged. New projects are still relatively early, with Nebra as a representative. Old projects have also pivoted in this direction, such as Mina, and Zen, which just passed the new proposal.

The overall idea of most projects in this track is basically:

  • Support multiple ZK languages

  • Support ZK aggregation proof, more efficient and cheaper

  • Faster final confirmation time

At present, the ZK settlement layer and the decentralized Proof Market are likely to be tied together. After all, you need computing power in addition to technology. We may see some settlement layer projects cooperating with Proof Market projects, or the settlement layer with computing power may directly build a Proof Market, or the Proof Market with technology may build a settlement layer to take over the whole project. The market will have the final say on how to proceed.


There should be many articles online about other areas of infrastructure, such as OEV in the field of Oracle and MEV, and ZK light client in the field of interoperability, so I will not repeat them here. Next time I see something new and interesting, I will share it with you.

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