Metis, a Layer 2 network built on Ethereum, announced a significant proposal on September 27, 2023. The proposal aims to migrate its data availability mechanism back to the Ethereum mainnet by switching from its current off-chain storage layer to its original Optimistic Rollup architecture. This move is seen as a strategic step to facilitate the launch of the Metis sequencer pool, a groundbreaking decentralized sequencer initiative.

In the spring of 2022, Metis entered into a partnership with Memo Labs to develop an off-chain storage layer. This collaboration enabled Metis to transact on its Layer 2 network at a lower cost by reducing the amount of data pushed to Layer 1 Ethereum. While this approach has been cost-effective, it has raised concerns about data availability.

Data availability is a cornerstone in the blockchain ecosystem. It ensures that all transaction data are readily available for reconstruction by validators and users. The Optimistic Rollup architecture, which Metis originally employed, batches this transaction data to Layer 1, thereby enhancing data availability. The current off-chain storage model, while cost-effective, relies on Memo Labs, a third-party entity, which could potentially compromise the robustness of data availability.

Metis aims to become the first Layer 2 network to decentralize its sequencer by launching a first-of-its-kind sequencer pool. This move would eliminate the single-point-of-failure risk associated with relying on a single sequencer entity. It would also open up new staking opportunities for METIS token holders, who would need to stake METIS to become eligible sequencers.

Switching to the Optimistic Rollup architecture would offer several benefits:

* Simplification of the Metis architecture, thereby facilitating the sequencer pool’s launch.

* Enhanced data availability, which is crucial for the sequencer pool.

* Decentralization and security upgrades through the sequencer pool.

However, the move comes with a trade-off: Metis would lose its current cost advantage, as transaction fees would align with those of other Layer 2 networks.

The proposal is currently open for community feedback. Once a consensus is reached, it will proceed to the Snapshot stage for a community vote. If the vote garners a 51% “YES,” Metis will implement the proposed changes. The community also has the option to revert to the off-chain storage model after the sequencer pool’s successful launch, subject to further evaluation and voting.

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